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Elin Berge April 28, 2008

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Sweden.
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berge_vails_3.jpg Veils, Sweden 2006

I thought this would make an interesting post following the one from yesterday.

Elin Berge was born in Stockholm, Sweden, She began her career in 1999 as a photographer for a local newspaper. Elin continued working as a feature photographer at the Swedish Daily News and in 2006 joined Moment. As a freelancer she has been published in most of Sweden’s major newspapers and magazines. Elin is also working on long-term book projects and exhibitions.

About the Photograph:

“The question if the Muslim veil was going to be allowed in public schools caused a huge debate in Sweden in 2003, when two young girls in Gothenburg came to school dressed in their black niqab. Is the veil a symbol of female oppression? Everyone seemed to have an opinion. This is a story about the girls everyone was talking about. I took the photos between 2003-2005. It became my first photo book and a touring exhibition that has been shown in seven cities in Sweden so far. “

”When I was fourteen I took the veil off for eight months. I wanted to try something new, change myself a bit. It was after I’d been to Lebanon; I was so affected by the girls there. Most of them didn’t wear the veil and they were even more into fashion than the girls in Sweden. I wanted to feel how it’s like to be all about the looks myself, like other young people. People said I became wilder without the veil, and I did stuff that’s not allowed within Islam. I knew it was wrong. Mom got sad, and dad too, but they couldn’t force me. When I took the veil off, it was like the protecting wall I had around myself just collapsed. I experienced things that I’d never experienced before. Things that other girls experience all the time. Once there was some guys that said: Look at the sex object! when I passed by. I felt nude, not free. But still, I wanted to be dressed like that because I thought it was sexy and cool. I wasn’t happy. Something were missing, I felt like there was a whole in my heart.” — Zena 15 years old

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