Inkslinger Award Winner
Issue No. 3 – March 2014
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“As a female artist, I am very conscious of the objectification of women in art. The female form has been the subject of many artists, and most of them have been male. Today images of nude women are a source of contention, and these concerns are valid. I made these figure studies in college as an exploration of the human form. Afterwards, however, I felt conflicted about showing them to others. Ashamed even. Had I turned these women into commodities for male consumption? Was I violating every feminist conviction that I believed in so fiercely?
I made these as beautiful, intimate photographs of individuals that I respect and care for. Like all portrait photography, these pictures are a collaboration between artist and model. In fact, all of my models are artists themselves; my peers. Should I feel guilt in making images that were supported and made possible by other female artists? It’s true that, being a woman myself, my images are not created by the male gaze. Does my femininity eliminate my “otherness”? Perhaps I was empowering myself through these images, a reclamation of women by women. But was I empowering my models? Depicting women in the same way they do could conceivably be seen as empowering, a subversion of this male-dominated practice. Maybe this was our collective “fuck you.”
Still, I cannot be blind to the fact that many of those viewing the work will be doing so through the lens of the male gaze. These questions still torment me, and I haven’t found any answers. I still feel unsure about showing them to you, but I hope that in doing so I will stir these questions in you too. Question the images you see in the art museums. Question the images you see in the media. Question me, and question yourself.”