Of coming of age, solitude and finding comfort in hobby horsing

I first met Elisabeth whilst shooting a documentary in Neustadt. As we were wrapping up for the day, I noticed a slender girl perfoming strange jumps on the shore whilst mimicing horse sounds on the shore and riding on into the shallow waters. Looking more closely, I realized that she was holding something that appeard to be a stuffed toy horse. At that time, I had no idea what hobbyhorsing was or that it was going through a revival across Northern and Western Europe. It was unusual to see a teenager actually “play” all alone, immersed in her own world of make believe, equipped with nothing but a requisite horse. Elisabeth speaks with a dreamy, timid voice. During our first encounter, I learned that she was born with hearing loss, that in the many schools she attended she had always been an outsider, singled out by her peers for being different, for not catching on as quickly, for not hearing well, for being obsessed with horses rather than “cool stuff”.
I wanted to understand what coming of age looks like in this quiet world of introversion and solitude. This is an ongoing project in making this quiet but rich internal world of adolescence a little more visible. 

Elisabeth is growing up in a sleepy, german town near the Baltic Sea. With an unfaltering passion for horses and horse riding, she turned to hobbyhorsing at age twelve. She spends most of her days training with her self-made horses, listening to music and taking walks with her cat. She likes Harry Potter and Marvel films. Elisabeth is now fourteen years old and lives with her brother and parents. Here are two playlists with music she likes to listen to.
The good mood playlist
E.T. Katy Perry
Bad Blood Taylor Swift
Enemy Imaign Dragons
I Choose Alessiy Cara
Somebody That I Used To Know - Goye
Troublemaker - Olly Murs
The Monster - Rihanna
Main Attraction - Jeremy Renner
Fairytale - Alexander Rybak
Breathe Easy - Blue
Wherever I Go - OneRepublic
Dirty Mind - 3OH!3
High Enough - K.Fla
Shotgun - George Ezra
Walk me Home - P!nk
Rollin - Masked Wolf Remix
Slumber Party - ashnikko
Control - Hasley

The not-so-good-mood playlist
Easy on Me - Adele
Two Birds on a Wire - Regina Spektor
Deep End - Fousheé
Der letzte Song - Kummer
Grenade - Bruno Mars
Mirrors - Justin Timberlake
Brutal (Slowenien + reverb) - Olivia Rodrigo
Happier then Everest - Billie Eilish
New - Daya
Be Alright - Dean Lewis
I'm online a Food for you
idfc - Blackbear
Stiches - Shawn Mendes
Cold - Maroon 5 
Me Too - Meghan Tainor
Call Me By Your Name - Montero
Arcade - Duncan Laurence
Paris - The Chainsmokers
Say something - Christina Auguilera
See you again - Charlie Put

All images copyright
of Guannan Li