"Immaculate" is a series of photographs of jeunes filles made in the enclosed gardens of private girls' schools in small towns in California. These Catholic institutions in Alhambra, San Diego, Monterey and Sierra Madre are all embedded in extensive and luxuriant arboretums which fall away into forests and ravines.
Lise Sarfati's photographs brilliantly construct a litany of contradictions and ambiguities concerning the girls' identities and states of mind. In the context of these elemental settings the girls abandon themselves or, on the contrary, hold back, only to reveal unsettling details: a hand touching a twig, chipped nail varnish, an uncertain gaze. Sarfati's psychological portraits elucidate the girls' immaturity and na vit as they stand at the cusp of womanhood, drawing on the signs of their virginity and their emotional and physical fragility.show more