This is what the magic of adolescence looks like...

This is what the magic of adolescence looks like...

A fading innocence — Photographer Bianka Schumann embedded herself in the closed-off world of two pre-teens, capturing that fleeting “no-man’s land” between childhood and adult maturity.

Bianka Schumann’s pictures aim to take us back in time, visually capturing that hard-to-define point between childhood innocence and self-conscious maturity.

The 25-year-old photographer grew up in the Hungarian countryside and, although she describes her work as “a long and complex path inspired by many things”, it took root in her family’s sheltered but comforting life there.

bianka-SCHUMANN_-arkhai-03_2014-digital-print-45x60At the age of 12, she remembers her grandfather sharing his photographic slides of the wider world and narrating captivating stories to go alongside them.

By 15, she knew she wanted to become a photographer herself – kickstarting a journey that would take in a photography degree at University of Kaposvar, in the south of the country.

Along the way, Bianka couldn’t help noticing the bond between her younger brother and his best friend – how it encapsulated the idyllic country upbringing that she enjoyed herself.

“I always knew that they had a special relationship but I took greater notice of it when they became adolescents,” she says.

“I recognised that not only I could learn about them and that field between childhood and puberty, but I could also get a better understanding about myself and my past.”

The pair had often popped up in Bianka’s photo projects but reversing that dynamic wouldn’t be so simple.

She recognised that it was delicate phase where you’re full of secrets and insecurities, full of developmental changes that aren’t quite ready to be shared with the outside world.

“I was very careful initially,” she says. “They often got away from people to deal with their own small and secret concerns. I knew that if I had been there, they would not have behaved the way they did when they were alone.

“I spent plenty of time just observing silently, watching and listening from far… a few weeks later I could take the first pictures.”

The resulting project, Arkhai, follows two people still young enough to create adventure outdoors just as the real world – and all the questions that brings with it – begins to loom in the distance.

In capturing that point where the ordinary and extraordinary begin to collide, it feels like both kids realise that the moment isn’t going to last forever.

That’s something that’s inspired countless people to get in touch with Bianka – now a freelance photographer based in Budapest – to express how much they identified with the project and to share stories of their own childhood… before asking what the two kids are up to now.

“As individuals they have been changing so much,” she says. “They don’t have as much free time as before and the circumstances are different but they have found other platforms to communicate through.

“They are still best friends who share everything with each other.”

Check out the portfolio of photographer Bianka Schumann.

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