Patrick Photos

A personal photography project

Category: Uncategorised (Page 1 of 18)

It has been a while

I want to apologise for the lack of posts this year. So why has it been a while?

Well a lot has changed in the last few months. Not personally but in the world around us, especially what has been happening in the United States.

Anyone who has a social media account or keeps up with current affairs will not have missed the infamous Access Hollywood tape or failed to see the #MeToo hashtag trending. These are just a couple of events out of many others that have made me think about the role art and culture have played in the way women are seen in modern society.

Here is another example, take this poster for a film that is currently on the walls of the London Underground.

What does it say about beauty and the acceptable look for women getting older? The natural lines on their faces removed for the Hollywood stamp of approval.

It would be easy to dismiss this as a trivial advertisement but for the people who walk past the poster the message is loud and clear: Women, this is what you should look like.

Why should it be this way? Why should women spend a fortune every year on make-up to prevent the unstoppable fact of time? Or even worse, go through the pain of cosmetic surgery to remove those lines.

I don’t see men being targeted for these products. Has any man been cut open to stuff some artificial product into his chest to improve his pectoral muscles?

In my quest to explore what is going on and where this is heading I’ve been immersing myself in a lot of books. It is a complex subject with many ideas, theories and opinions.

The greater the understanding I have, the more critically I have been examining the work I have produced so far. There is no harm in taking the time in gaining knowledge, so hopefully I can create better and more thought-provoking work.

Firecrackers v girlgaze

Since getting Girl on Girl, I found a couple more books which showcase the work of female photographers.

Firecrackers: Female Photographers Now by Fiona Rogers and Max Houghton is a showcase of the Firecracker project to promote the work of women in the photography industry.

#girlgaze How Girls See The World by Amanda de Cadenet, with contributions by Lynsey Addario, Inez van Lamsweerde and Sam Taylor-Johnson is also a showcase of their project.

Is one book better than the other? For me, Firecrackers is a much more serious book while #girlgaze has a more tabloid feel to it. I think that it is a good thing that there are two different approaches to the problem of the lack of female representation in the industry. It is always good to have a choice.

Girl on Girl

I first came across this book Girl on Girl: Art and Photography in the Age of the Female Gaze by Charlotte Jansen from an article on the CNN website.

For those of you who have not yet opened the link, the article is an edited version of the introduction from the book. As soon as I finished reading it I immediately placed a click and collect order from Waterstones which I picked up today. So, I haven’t had the book long and this is just a first look.

The book is a showcase of 40 photographers/artists in which Jansen does a one page review on each which is also accompanied by a selection of their work. It is provocative, clever and with a wide cross section of differing approaches to the subject is thought provoking.

What I have looked at so far has made me consider what my views and assumptions are on how women are seen in Western modern society.

It is rare to see a book like this. When I started this project, I was heavily influenced by work that was made for and by the male gaze. With so much of it around it is not that surprising. It takes effort and a willingness to search for that alternative view and this book is a good place to start.

17 August 2017 Now that I’ve had some time to think about the images in this book I have come to see how difficult it is for female photographers to also be effected by the male gaze. After all female photographers are living in the same world as everyone else.

If a viewer decides to see a piece of art differently from the way an artist intended there is very little anyone can do about it. Trying to be ironic when the (male) viewer doesn’t get the mockery just adds another piece into the pile for the male gaze category.

The challenge against the male gaze is truly enormous and I do wonder if it is even possible. But female photographers and artists have a duty trying to find their own path to challenge our visual environment.

For me, I too need to find a way past my own prejudices and biases in the work I’m creating. It isn’t going to be easy but the effort I believe will be worth it.

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