All posts tagged: Femininity

Kingdom of the Girls: The alternate reality where women rule the world

That world exists, if you know where to look. Berlin-based photographer Karolin Klüppel’s pictures of rare matriarchal communities in India and China – which won the 2015 Felix Schoeller Photo Award – invite us to do exactly that. Born in 1985, Klüppel developed an interest in alternatives to patriarchy while studying photography at the School of Art and Design in Kassel, where her final project deconstructed gender through soft, fragile portraits of the male nude. On graduating in 2013 she embarked on a self-financed trip to India, where she had a residency lined up with the Vice-Versa Foundation in Goa. Initially the plan was to stay half a year in India before heading to China, to photograph the Mosuo, a matriarchal society in the Himalayas, but she ended up spending nine months in Mawlynnong, a Khasi village in the State of Meghalaya, northeast India. The photographs she shot there became the portrait series Mädchenland (Kingdom of Girls), for which she won the prestigious 2015 Felix Schoeller Photo Award. Klüppel had read about the Khasi while …

2017-02-23T16:46:32+00:00

London Art Fair’s Photo50: The Fascination of Dealing with the Other Sex

Each January, London Art Fair dedicates exhibition space to photography, inviting a curator to select 50 images along one common idea. The 2016 edition of Photo50 at LAF (which runs at Business Design Centre, 20-24 January) is curated by BJP contributor Federica Chiocchetti, whose theme is ‘Feminine Masculine: On the Struggle and Fascination of Dealing with the Other Sex’. She explains her interest in curating an exhibition that grapples with the mysterious dynamics that operate between men and women. – BJP “It is absurd to divide humanity into men and women. It is composed only of femininity and masculinity.” Valentine de Saint Point ‘Manifesto of the Futurist Woman in response to F. T. Marinetti’, 1912 “In the end every definition of male and female is personal, and it’s that idiosyncrasy we value, need and hope to encourage. Who do we think we are? A work in progress ♂♀”. Vince Aletti, ‘Male Female’, 1999 ‘Feminine Masculine’ presents an unfinished and personal exploration of the dynamics between the opposite sexes. This mysterious topic, at times ineffable and immaterial, often seems …

2016-01-18T18:05:40+00:00

Las Valkyrias de Bolivia – the women wrestlers of La Paz

Earlier this year, Riccardo Bononi won first place in the Sport category at the 2015 Sony World Photography Awards for his project, Las Valkyrias de Bolivia. Bononi visited Bolivia on an unrelated research project, only to find himself photographing in the poorest neighbourhood in La Paz. The Valkyries are a group of women farmers from the countryside who come into the city and enter the ring for a series of wrestling bouts. The women, who raise their children all by themselves and work between the fields and the urban street markets, were the perfect example of migration from the countryside to urban environments, as well as a striking example of feminine strength. What’s the genesis of the project? My initial reasons for going to Bolivia were far away from the wrestling ring of El Alto. I had the opportunity to collaborate with a researcher from SOAS, University of London on a project looking at the migration of people from the countryside to the cities, along with the dispersion of traditional knowledge. My first impression of Bolivia was that of a …

2016-03-08T12:59:29+00:00

The thin blue line: Combining Russian policewomen and the criminals they capture

Social networks allow us to project whatever image we choose onto the people we’re connected to, and images – those we take of ourselves and of others – form a central role in the way we perform for others in the online space. And this sense of performance lies at the heart of a project by Russian photographer Anastasia Rudenko, which features images of policewomen and criminals she has found online. From 2011 to 2014, Rudenko, who was born in the South Kazakhstan region of the former Soviet Union, collected images sourced from Russian social networking sites, including Odnoklassniki.ru, a social network for schoolmates past and present, akin to Friends Reunited. These kind of sites are everywhere in Russia, she says, and they provide an “avalanche” of images that can make a useful starting point for her personal projects. “I collect snapshots and then decide how I can use them, either as found images or as material for my own photography. In my work, I try to analyse sections of modern Russian society from different angles. …

2015-12-16T12:22:18+00:00

Evolving attitudes towards women shown through vintage adult memorabilia

Hannah Farrell’s project, Close Your Eyes and Think of England, uses images found in vintage pornography magazines to explore notions of sexuality. “They are taken from early 1970s’ Penthouse magazines and other adult memorabilia, which I have collected over the past few years,” she explains. “What started out as an interest in the aesthetic of the photographs turned into a fascination with how the magazines comment on social movements of the time, particularly attitudes towards women. It’s interesting to explore the relationship between the evolution of photography and  how this is linked with changes in the female body.”     A graduate of Blackpool and The Fylde College, Farrell deliberately picked out images with earthy tones and natural light to play up a sense of nostalgia, but says this aesthetic also suggests a connection to the natural world and animal instincts – factors she emphasises in the still lifes she sets up. As such, her images feed into her ongoing exploration of nature versus culture, and how women in particular are socialised.         “I guess it …

2015-11-25T13:59:59+00:00

Jo Spence’s iconoclastic self-portraits ridiculing outmoded gender stereotypes

‘It is essential that this important exhibition is seen by as many women as possible. To do this we need money – to make it fit to travel all over Britain. Please help and send donations to:- “The Hackney Flashers Collective” who took all the photographs and organised it.’ Written in red marker pen, the appeal appears on a poster made in 1975 by socialist-feminist collective The Hackney Flashers. With their travelling exhibitions, Jo Spence and other members created influential agitprop materials as a way of confronting social prejudices. Their black-and-white prints – of women at work in factories; female machinists hunched over sewing machines; a mother holding a saucepan over the stove and a baby on her hip – helped campaign for equal pay in the workplace and better childcare provisions. “They wanted to operate in society and not as part of the art world,” says Elena Crippa, who curated the retrospective of Jo Spence’s work at Tate Britain. Using the flash of the camera as a pun on the revealing nature of photography, The Hackney Flashers …

2016-03-08T11:18:45+00:00

Winner of the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2015 announced

BJP

David Stewart is this year’s winner of the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2015 for his group portrait of his daughter and her friends. The National Portrait Gallery presented the £12,000 award to the London-based photographer last night at the awards ceremony. The winning portrait Five Girls 2014 depicts the distance between a seemingly close group of friends, and mirrors a photograph he took of them seven years ago, which was also displayed in the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize in 2008. Stewart says about the photograph: “I have always had a fascination with the way people interact – or, in this case, fail to interact, which inspired the photograph of this group of girls. While the girls are physically very close and their style and clothing highlight their membership of the same peer group, there is an element of distance between them.” Second prize has been awarded to Hector, Anoush Abrar’s photograph of a young boy, inspired by Caravaggio’s painting Sleeping Cupid; third prize has gone to Nyaueth, Peter Zelewski’s photograph of a woman …

2015-11-11T14:30:31+00:00

Revisiting the characters of her childhood by getting up close and personal with strangers

Street photographer Michelle Groskopf’s images let us know what fascinates her right away. “Street photography acts as a time machine for me. It has this funny way of allowing me to revisit the characters and tone of my childhood. “Even though I’ve spent my life trying to get as far away as possible from the small Canadian suburb I grew up in, when it comes to my work it seems clear to me that I’m just trying to make my way back home.” Teen culture, femininity and suburbia all feature heavily in her work, which has been featured in the likes of Vice, Fotografia Magazine and Conde Nast Traveler. “I’m interested in the places where the suburbs intersect with the city,” Groskopf says. “The sorts of attitudes, fashion and geometry these spaces tend to inspire in the people traversing them. I have a desperate desire to get as close up to these details as possible. For that reason my world tends to be one full of tension. People tend not to like being scrutinised.”  Now represented by international photo agency INSTITUTE, …

2015-11-03T17:38:54+00:00

Symbolic portraits locating femininity between two cultures

Ritual, family heritage and decorative costumes are at the heart of Marie Hudelot’s series of portraits. Dressing her subjects with jewels, feathers, flowers and ribbons, she explores themes of femininity, honour, seduction and youthfulness. “I wanted to create a set of symbolic portraits inspired by my background,” explains Hudelot, born in Toulon in 1981. “My mother is Algerian and my father is French. I used the pictorial tradition of still life and created characters where the objects [they hold or wear] come from different customs.” The series is partly inspired by the 1983 Woody Allen mockumentary Zelig, about a man (played by Allen) who changes his character to fit in with the people around him. “This film was a reference in that I wanted to create caricatures, but not in a critical way,” she explains. “The idea was to suggest different characters.” One of the central themes running through the work is the notion of femininity. “Growing up, I learned different things about what it means to be a woman,” says Hudelot. “For example, in Algerian culture, women often have …

2015-10-19T10:44:11+00:00

The female derobed: Neola McDavid’s untainted nudes

“Trust is very important when you ask someone to take their clothes off so you can photograph them nude,” says Neola Loretta McDavid, who will soon graduate from the University of Roehampton with a BA Honours in Photography. “Your subjects need to have confidence in you as a photographer, and they need to feel comfortable in themselves.” McDavid’s series of nude portraits, Denudate 2015, exudes strength – stripped back, it presents women in a state of undress, stoic in their own personal space, the only props being the intimate objects in their homes. Her series, like the meaning of the title itself, bares all – it strips women of the labels imposed upon them by society and returns them to their natural state, as “supreme beings” – equal to men, neither subordinate nor superior. “The women in my portraits signify empowerment. They are not obstructed by the mores of society or media in the way that influences how women are portrayed today. The women aren’t sexualised, nor are their poses meant to be suggestive. I’m not using the female …

2015-06-25T16:30:44+00:00

BJP Staff