Be Good is a work about underage married gypsy teenagers in Romania, their traditions and rituals of the wedding (night), the importance of virginity and the burden of proof. It shows portraits of married couples with a focus on appearing as individuals and also some teenagers that grew up in this tradition, along with symbolic still lives of flowers and interiors like their marital bedrooms. Their society isn’t used to the idea of individuality in a modern sense, it simply doesn’t exist and so doesn’t the concept of youth: Either you’re a kid or an adult. It’s easy to understand that, when you think about a 12 year old girl getting ready for her wedding and at the same time knowing that her virginity is the holy key to an respected marriage. Shortly after marriage the girls get pregnant and become mothers, boys become fathers. In the end it’s a work about youth, although from our westernized point of view it can be read as a work about the absence of youth, which leaves us with the question about (un-)happiness. Are those teenagers less happy, because they’re “missing out” on something so essential to us?
More images and other projects on Maria Sturm’s website. Maria was born 1985 in Ploiesti, Romania. She grew up in Augsburg, Germany and she graduated with a diploma in Photography and Media from University of Applied Sciences Bielefeld, Faculty of Art and Design in Summer 2012.
Be Good Photo Book won the Student Photobook Category of the New York Photo Awards.
Maria Sturm was also featured in Love Issue #6 with LOVE, BUT, a project about separation and changes in love.