Adolescence is a notoriously difficult stage of development. At the same time as teens' bodies are changing in foreign (and often anxiety-provoking) ways, that tricky mental process of carving out an identity apart from our families kicks into high gear. The gauntlet from age 12 to young adulthood is even harder for those who were assigned one gender but identify as another.
Drawn to subjects "whose lives have taken a significantly different turn than most people’s lives," photographer Willeke Duijvekam
gravitated toward two individuals grappling with one of the most central identity questions of all: gender. "Mandy and Eva are girls, even though they were born as boys," Duijvekam explains on her website
, describing the two young subjects of her photography book, Mandy and Eva
. (It's worth noting that many trans* individuals take issue with this phrasing, specifying that they were not "born as" a certain gender but rather were assigned the label of that gender.
) "I followed their lives for six years, through the whole of their adolescence. Two girls, two stories, with perhaps more differences than similarities."
Duijvekam's sensitive, nuanced shots capture the transitions of Mandy and Eva from girls (whom the world saw as boys) to vibrant young women; they hint at rich inner lives, of which identifying as female is only one part. Click through to view the captivating photographs, with captions by the photographer.