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Inspired by the Pre-Raphealite exhibition at Tate Britain last year, I created a small series of photos that paid homage to their works, those in particular that featured the model and artist, Lizzie Siddal.
Whilst, some of the images are closer to their “originals”, I didn’t want this project to just be about recreating or copying the paintings, rather an aesthetic base in which to explore and discover my own way of “painting with a camera”. And to be honest, I just wanted to make some beautiful, emotive photographs, in an attempt to rekindle my passion for the medium.
- Lizzie Siddal: pre-Raphaelite muse and an artist in her own right (thetimes.co.uk)
Yesterday (8th Nov) I was officially awarded a BA Honours in Photography, but it was made all the more special by the fact that my four month old daughter was there to see me graduate.
Yup, I wrote my dissertation between morning sickness (which isn’t exclusive to the AM!), planned my degree show work feeling like I could pop any moment, for her to only arrive a week and a half after the private view!
Degrees are hard work, so you don’t need a MA to conclude that by the end of it, I was exhausted! The physical and emotional strength it took me to get through that last year felt mammoth.
So although I didn’t get the mark I was hoping for I’m so proud that I got through it and that Zooey arrived happy and healthy!
I will share with you my final work, which is a far cry from the work in this blog (it’s about gaming, mainly The Legend if Zelda – YUP!) at a later date!
The last four years have been mental; lots of tears, frustration, elation and a few all nighters, so excuse me whilst I cozy up into the sofa with baby girl and do bugger all!
A massive thank you to my parents who have always supported and never given up on me. My partner Jason who kept me going and always bought tea. And finally my tutor Bridget Smith who, without her support and encouragement, I couldn’t have written this blog.
Photos courtesy of Laura Powell and Muma Bannocks
I love photographing women, and not because I’m some dirty old pervert, using their camera as a way to get chicks undressed, but because the female form fascinates me. I’m not a lesbian or even bisexual, I just think that as imagery goes, the naked female is incredibly beautiful naturally, and now with the rise of alternative fashion, it now comes adorned.
Continuing the journey of the female nude in art – the medium shifting to photography, the audience exceeding the lover and the subject exceeding the mistress.
“A woman’s presence expresses her own attitude to herself, and defines what can and can’t be done to her.”
“She turns herself into an object… an object of vision: a sight.”
- John Berger, Ways of Seeing
I don’t think Berger’s comments on the presence of women should be conveyed negatively. The modern woman should intepret his observations as women being very much aware of their sexuality and sexual power, not that she should be presenting herself for to the standard of pleasure set by men, or indeed other women, or any observer.
I believe the images I make are a celebration of women knowing themselves and being able to share that for themselves. Indeed, a lot of the women I’ve photographed, who have never modelled before have noted how they felt “liberated” by the experience and much more confident in their skin.
As mentioned, I love creating these images, and I love showing the model the final result. She too is an everyday female, with hang ups, insecurities and wobbly bits, so when I receive their (often overwhelmed) positive feedback, it makes me feel like I’ve achieved something for her, not the audience. In a way, I feel like a better, less ridiculous, version of Gok Wan and his “How to Look Good Naked”.
I’ve also found that my confidence in myself has grown from meeting and photographing women. Not because I think I look better (my body is very fun house mirror after having a baby in June!), but because I’ve seen that every shape and curve is normal.
The Photoshopping I do is VERY minimal – the odd spot, and I NEVER change a woman’s shape.
“But where are the curvier, bigger women?!” I hear you cry, and my response is “Yes! WHERE ARE YOU?! Come, let me photograph you!”
Images are from the project “Curve – A Study”, available on Blurb. Created in 2010 under the name J. Austin.
I’m currently adding to this body of work, with intention of publishing in the New Year. If you would like to model for me (males too!) please contact me.
I’m a girl who photographs girls, and this is my space to share and discuss the work I make.
It will be a mix of photos (lots!), discussions and sketchbooking.
I will also be showcasing other female photographers and artists, (don’t worry, there will be males too!) asking them about their practice and how it feels to be in a traditionally masculine profession.
Finally, I want this to be a space where both myself and readers (see how to get involved below) can talk about the implications of capturing the female form, be it through photography or other media, the contextual changes (painting vs. photography) and whether or not, by creating “Pin-Ups” I’m going against my female comrades.
So, this blog has something for everyone!
It’s been a long time coming and I’m really excited to get this going!
Get involved: I’m interested in you! I’ll be posting “casting calls” and requests for interviewees periodically, which will have all the info on how you can be featured on this blog. The comment box is always open or you can contact me via the contact form on my about page! Keep those eyes peeled!