French-Canadian photographer Benoit Paill captures the glistening, reflective eyes of children looking across a room at a wall displaying their own drawings about school bullying. Each fresh face in Paill’s series displays a sense of innocence while also reflecting their awareness of the torment and incessant games of intimidation that’s forced upon their peers and perhaps even themselves.
The project, which stemmed from the photographer’s passion for portraiture, was originally an installation created for an exhibition revolving around the theme of school bullying at the Towada Art Center in Aomori, Japan. Spanning 1.2 meters high and 7 meters wide, the large-scale piece features each of their watchful gazes, side by side, reflecting streaks of light (their drawings on the wall) in their eyes like thin scratches across the pupil and iris. They are the visual scars of one who has witnessed or been the victim of bullying.