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.