London-based photographer Rachel Molina gives a voice to children Seen But Not Heard through a photographic series that documents the uneasy transitional period from childhood to adolescence; each of the subjects preparing themselves for their looming move to secondary school.
The first steps towards adulthood can be worrying yet enjoyable, filled with anxiety whilst at the same time full of aspiration. There’s a tender naivety too, many of their biggest worries being whether their friends are going to the same school. Each image accompanied by a short interview, Molina captures the intimate thoughts of children who are about to enter a time where they will start to make up their own minds, choose their own paths, and bear the consequences of their actions.
“When I am older,” says Hanifah, “I would really like to be in charge of making important decisions, maybe in government? I don’t know but I seem to be thinking outside the box. I just like the idea of having so many possibilities.” Whilst Francesco offers a more familiar dream for the future: “When I’m older I want to be a footballer because I think it is fun and they get paid lots of money. Chelsea is my favourite team so I would like to play for them.” Aside from aspirations, the most common thread is of acceptance and friendship, and Molina oft-pensive portraits shine a light on the fragility of this life-changing moment in time; every dream counterbalanced by trepidation of the unknown.
Exhibited at the V&A Museum of Childhood in 2017—and one of the portraits selected for inclusion in the 2015 Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery—Molina’s highly-relatable project is ongoing.