Marie Lenail-Chouteau

“Don’t call me maid”

‘Don’t call me maid’ because words count. They are not domestic servants, they are domestic helpers.

In this documentary photo-essay I have met almost twenty Filipina helpers. When I started this project my idea was to learn more about their personal lives, where they were living and what was important to them. I also wanted to discover where they were able find the strength to stay in Malaysia far from their family and roots. This documentary is made as a means to look at them with a different eye, fresh from any stereotypes or given idea about who a helper should be. I went to their homes, share their dishes, observe their joy of living and great sense of friendship. These ladies welcomed me with warmth in their community. The analog camera (a Rolleiflex) I used allow me to get closer to them without being intrusive, to respect their intimacy and to share true moment of happiness and faith.

I would like to thank my helper Jane, without whom this project would not have been possible.

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About Marie Lenail-Chouteau

“Photography is a great means to get closer to the people, to see things differently and to reflect on reality. I especially enjoy film photography which allows me to slow down and appreciate the process as much as the results”.

Marie is a self-taught photographer particularly interested in documentary photography.

Marie (Exp+4) was mentored by Kenny Loh.

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