All posts tagged: Female in Focus

Female in Focus: “When making artwork, your gender matters”

Female in Focus is a new award that seeks to elevate exceptional work by female-identifying photographers.Throughout the submission period, we are speaking to photographers whose work encompasses the values that lie at the heart of the award. Pixy Liao’s work sheds light on traditional gender roles, asking us to question their place in society, and in particular, heterosexual relationships. “Our society has all kinds of expectations of us depending on our gender,” says Pixy Liao. “I’m interested in exploring who people would be if they didn’t have these expectations placed on them.” Liao has been shooting her series Experimental Relationship over the last 10 years. In the series of playful images, she subverts the traditional gender roles that lay the foundations of many heterosexual relationships, asking us to re-examine what is considered to be normal. Liao’s life and work are inexplicably intertwined, and Experimental Relationship is constantly evolving with her relationship. Drawing on life with her boyfriend Moro, who is five years her junior, Liao celebrates and examines their sex, gender and power dynamics. “The …

2019-04-30T09:57:04+01:00

Female in Focus Editor’s Pick: Breaking a routine

Our online editor has selected the best entries from last month’s applications to Female in Focus. Juliette Cassidy is the BJP team’s favourite of the Editor’s Pick selection, winning a feature on BJP-online. “I was amazed by Senegal,” says Juliette Cassidy, “the way the light shone on people’s skin, the country itself, and a lot of the clothes people wear.” Cassidy, a fashion photographer, took her second trip to Senegal last year. Shooting her series The Day I Went to Africa, the trip challenged her to step outside of her working routine and  photograph away from her usual environment, which was centred around studios and London’s fashion circuit. “I wanted to be emotionally and physically distant from what I was used to photographing,” Cassidy explains, “but at the same time, I wanted to maintain an element that felt familiar to me, which was fashion.” While in Senegal, Cassidy’s approach shifted. Instead of casting her subjects, as would be the case in London, she photographed  individuals that she met by chance. With no deadline or commission …

2019-04-30T09:55:25+01:00

Female in Focus: Acceptance or resignation?

“I became exposed to this completely different environment,” says Yagazie Emezi, speaking of her experience moving from Nigeria to the US. Having spent her whole life in Nigeria the photographer relocated to the US when she was 16 years old to study. The experience proved formative and has since become the focus of many of her photographic projects. “My work always stems from something personal,” says Emezi. This rings particularly true in the series Process of Re-learning Bodies, an ongoing project in which she explores the process by which people reclaim their bodies after becoming physically scarred. Looking at the fragility and endurance of the human form, and the acceptance of self within African communities, the project seeks to understand the emotional implications of being scarred, and how factors such as community, environment, and socioeconomic class can influence an individual’s psychological adjustment to their new, scarred bodies. “I have a very visible scar on my leg,” says Emezi. “Growing up in my hometown in Nigeria, I wasn’t self-conscious about the scar, because I was in …

2019-04-30T09:59:47+01:00

Female in Focus: “Let us take the reins of our own narrative”

There are many recurring Latin American stereotypes in the mainstream media: from fiery Latinas, sexy senoritas, and coercive lotharios, to violent depictions of the region itself. These two-dimensional portrayals often come from a homogenous Western perspective, and we see far fewer images taken by those who inhabit the continent themselves. Daiana Valencia and Celeste Alonso came together in 2015 to change this. Combining their dual expertise, the pair created Rueda Photos – a collective focusing on “themes with social context, referring to the territory, the gender issues and the current affairs that are specific to it”. Since its inception, the collective has completed a number of immensely successful projects. Their first collaborative work was shot in Haiti, where they covered the presidential campaign of Maryse Narcisse in the 2015 elections. The series, Candidate, follows the Fanmi Lavalas party nominee during a period which saw attitudes towards female politicians change in South America. Since then, three of South America’s biggest powers – Chile, Argentina and Brazil – have been governed by women. The collective’s most recent …

2019-04-30T12:18:26+01:00

Female in Focus: “Dominance is often a characteristic associated with men”

Alice Mann is a South Africa-born, London-based photographer, who was awarded the prestigious Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize in 2018 for her photographs of all-female teams of drum majorettes in South Africa’s Western Cape province. The images that make up Drummies are celebratory and empowering portrayals of young majorettes from some of South Africa’s most marginalised communities. “Winning the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize was confirmation that people were able to instantly access the power these women had,” Mann says, “I’m really pleased that the girls’ confidence came across in the series.” Alice Mann is one of our females in focus; a remarkable photographer making extraordinary work, whose images we are revisiting as part of our pledge to elevate photography by women. Female in Focus is a new award, launched this year by 1854 Media, in which female-identifying photographers are invited to apply to have their work exhibited as part of a month-long group show at United Photo Industries gallery in Brooklyn, New York. Female in Focus is our way of addressing the gender imbalance …

2019-05-30T13:11:14+01:00

Female in Focus: “Willingness for change, and honesty, will move the photography industry forward”

Our next Female in Focus is Ngadi Smart. Her portraits, often of subjects with a striking sense of style, examine how people express their identity through both fashion and their surroundings. Combining photography and illustration, Smart’s work is rich with colour, pattern and personality. Ngadi Smart is a West African multi-disciplinary artist who has moved between Sierra Leone,  the UK and Canada. This has given her an international and expansive worldview that radiates throughout her work. However, her West African roots remain at the forefront of her work, and much of her photography interrogates themes of identity, sexuality and feminism through an African lens. By deconstructing mainstream portrayals of the continent, Smart challenges Western perceptions of African cultures. Smart’s work is motivated by the misrepresentation of black people of colour; their varied, vibrant and broad cultures, as well as feminism and gender roles. Through art, she reconsiders what it means to be considered ‘normal’ or ‘beautiful’. We spoke to Smart in light of Female in Focus, a new award that seeks to more bring diverse …

2019-05-30T12:39:18+01:00

Female in Focus: Jess T. Dugan’s empowering portraits of the ageing transgender community

When photographer Jess T. Dugan was 13, she started to question her identity. Over the next few years, she came out as queer – a process which, at the time, was isolating; there was nothing in the mainstream media that reflected her experience. In fact, she had never seen an image of a queer or gender nonconforming person at all, until she stumbled across one in a photography book – a discovery she describes as having a profound influence on her. We spoke to Dugan, who identifies as non-binary (but uses the female pronoun), in light of Female in Focus, a new award seeking to elevate exceptional work by female and non-binary photographers. Our aim is to take steps towards a more diverse and inclusive photography industry. Dugan’s work, which focuses on the untold stories of marginalised groups, encompasses the values at the heart of Female in Focus. “I think that representation – and seeing oneself represented in the larger culture – is incredibly important,” says Dugan. “Images can function as possibility models, validating an …

2019-03-14T13:43:46+01:00

BJP Staff