'Rose Marie' a photographic portrait by Christel Boertjes

'Rose Marie' a photographic portrait by Christel Boertjes

Christel Boertjes was selected as one of the Dutch artists of the 7th Pépinières for Young Artists is working at the Centre Méditeranéen de la Photographie on the island of Corsica.


For weeks I had seen her walking with her cartfull of rubbish, dolls and books. Rose Marie lived on the streets of Bastia for the past 10 years.After a first staged introduction, I would often walk down her street.

One night Rose Marie saw me walk by and shouted: 'Christelle'. I did not have the nerve to tell her I wanted to portray her. That night she carried my camera mount while I shot her surroundings. I hardly speak any French and she no Dutch,we were silent.

She asked me for some personal items and clothes,so she could make me a doll. I gave her a pair of tights, an old t-shirt, a shell, a gold marker and some buttons.

The next day she hung the doll in a bag on my front door. I could not find her that day so I put a book I once made in her cart as a present. The next day she tells me she disapproves of my book. She is angry with me, because the pictures in my book are too personal.She does not like colour photography and gave away my book. She only reads Umberto Eco. She says she's selfish because of all the trouble she has seen.

She tells me she wants to murder people. She says I look awful, far to pale, grabs some orange foundation and puts it on my face.

'Maybe' she answers when I ask to take her picture.


Christel Boertjes, Bastia (Corsica) 2006