Right and wrong….

Recently I have read so many things about the pressures women face today, As well as reading about them I am hearing about them first hand. I realise my blog covers mainly my project at uni but I also thin I can include thing’s that need talking about. After all it is my blog…

There are so many issues we don’t think about that effect so many young women now, we categorise a lot of them as almost taboo subjects. A lot can stem from very low key mental illness problems going up to any variety or severity, and because of the boundaries there are now we feel we have to suffer in silence. But recently the media in all formats down to even Netflix has looked at the repercussions of staying silent. A recent report on BBC health spoke about how children as young as 3 years old are displaying signs of depression and eating disorders, 3 year old’s!!

There are so many different ways women are suffering these days, living in a society where we are expected to be vulnerable and judged and reprimanded for being what they expect. Recently one issue that came up to me is some one close to me broke, the strain of feeling wrong because of how they feel about a situation that is not theirs, but is attached to them. They stay for the person but the situation scares them and makes them feel like they are wrong in themselves and something isn’t right about them.

It takes us back to stereotypes that we still can not break free of. Why should we have a natural mother instinct and be made to feel ashamed for things like post-natal or simply not mine but I will make myself apart of.. Why should we look like the Barbie dolls we used to play with rather than embrace the person we really are…Why should a women not be allowed to choose who she loves gender aside, happiness first… Resort to taking the silence out on themselves and breaking their body in the process. There are thousands of things that infuriate me for who we should be.. why can’t we be who we are!

Emma Watson and Vanity Fair

I want to write about this as the backlash it received blew me away…

I have been watching and reading the Harry Potter’s for as long as I can remember, Emma Watson was always an inspiration. I mean who wouldn’t want to look and like her!! So 2001 6year old me goes to see what at the time is the most magical thing I have ever seen excuse the pun.

And what amazes me is 16 years later we are in denial that Hermione Granger grew up. We are in a day in age where all we do is make kids grow quicker, put the toys down and pick up the IPhone. emma-watson-tim-walker-march-2017-ss09.jpgI am apparently part of the minority who found this Vanity Fair cover tasteful and artistic, not revealing and shame worthy. She is 26 now not 10! And the criticism she received on this was enormous. The belief of gone is little Miss Granger and she calls herself a feminist… Yes she outgrew her school uniform. She is one of few celebrities trying to make a change. Feeling comfortable and empowered by her body does not lose her these titles, it embodies them.

“It just always reveals to me how many misconceptions and what a misunderstanding there is about what feminism is, Feminism is about giving women choice. Feminism is not a stick with which to beat other women with. It’s about freedom, it’s about liberation, it’s about equality. I really don’t know what my t—s have to do with it.”

 

I could not agree more with what she has said, her views on equal pay have nothing to do with her breasts that are not even on show. How does it differ from the male celebrities we see shirtless all the time. Or the Kardashians and their constant no clothes plastic surgery look. Emma Watson is a perfect example of elegance and poise, and she showed this in a classy beautiful artistic way. With the smallest cleavage reveal since pre-Kardashian sex tape!

I for one respect her, she has grown and many of us grew with her and can appreciate that fact. Our generation should be more sad that the current generation will know her as Belle NOT Hermione!!

The final shoot part two.

After thinking I had done my final shoot I quickly realised that I had not. The shoot had not turned out how I planned, it just felt like a total disaster to me. I did have work I could use but I didn’t end on a note that I wanted too. So me and Jess decided we would fit another final shoot in!! Much to our amusement to have a final final shoot!

Before hand for some reason I was so nervous about this final part, I have in last few days started to realise that my degree is really coming to an end. april 3rd-090So I was sad to see this particular session come to an end. Jess has grown so much in the time I have been shooting her, and we ended on a fun bright shoot in which she looked stunning.

Because of my worry over the shoot I thought it was best to make it as fun and light as possible. This work after all is turning into a celebration of the person we see growing in front of us.

april 3rd-119I have used a lot of colour this year with her, but one thing I have not done is include props or gone bright. All the images have been almost voyeuristic in both pose and colour I found. So I though some light was needed to round it all off.

We used various things to get this look in the shoot:

  • Ballons
  • Bubbles
  • Coloured gels
  • excellent bubble blowing skills
  • Not enough blue tac
  • And A Jess…

W used a simple set up on of light on the back with a coloured gel on and then a beauty box on her. And because of some worry about printing these later in a good format we used the Nikon D800. I did not want anything to complicated just simple beautiful portrait with some light fun colours.

And I believe I got exactly what I asked for. I think this was a fun shoot to finish on and has wrapped up the work for Jess. She has done her part now in this project and now I need to bring it all together to finish this project for her.

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Keith Lovegrove- Pageant: The beauty contest.

This work looks at the behind the scenes at all varieties of pageants, he has collected work from all around to create this book. It is almost his the good, the bad and the ugly. He shows us the world we hear so much about but don’t really see as much as we think we do. From the tears to the backstage horrors.

He shows us the world of vanity and backwards morals an opinions. But leads it into the alternative pageants, the best lady boy or drag queen!

So focusing on the whole book and looking at every one’s different definitions of idealistic beauty, he shows how everyone’s ideals are different from others. He wanted a well rounded view on this world of glam and glitz in all it’s forms.

We live in a world that is based on who looks best, and pageants are an extension of that. He has captured this idea of beauty in it’s most exaggerated form and how women strive to be Miss Universe for example. But why is it we only ever pay attention to the big end pageants, why do all the others get so ignored. And he shows all sides of it he doesn’t want any of them going unnoticed.

Research into Erwin Blumenfeld.

I looked at this photographer as his work isn’t that well known but he has created some interesting portraits all in a very abstract way. They are quite surreal and have the look of work done by Salvador Dali in his paintings and photographs. He has distorted the body so it looks fake and like a mannequin.

I wanted to look at this photographer to see how people distort the body and represent it in many different ways. Although I haven’t done any work to match this I found it interesting to look into. He has clever use of color in comparison the the black and white which makes his images so much more bold and interesting to look at.

It has a retro sort of feel to it, with the pin-up girl style to the female models. Like the image of all the heads, it creates the idea that all women are the same. And detachable but it relates to the work that women are a kept commodity. He makes the women look plastic and false.

Rainbow makeup

In this next shoot we experimented with high key fashion ideas. Taken from a mood board created by my sister in preparation  for this shoot. We wanted to look at something more vibrant and different from what we have done so far. This stays with the idealistic theme and adds  more variety to the work.

These also not yet edited show the raw image that will soon be altered to match with the ideal version of who Jess wants to be. Which for my research will show the progression of who she wants to be in comparison to who she is in my other work.

All these images will slowly get selected down to create my final photo book and 3 main prints for my exhibition.  I want the idealistic images to all be unique and vibrant. Just so you know what is beyond the ordinary and without the same realistic quality as the location style shots. I want to make her stand out in a unique way without any certain narrative to this section, just her in almost an individual identity with each studio shot in a new way that has her in one idealistic way in one way or another.

Coloured shadows

After my last shoot I wasn’t sure where to go with this one. So that is when me and my sister decided to collaborate on this one. I have needed more work belonging to the section about her ideal self and this shoot was dedicated to that idea about idealism.

This shoot was designed by Jess she picked colour and posed how she wanted to. We wanted to work on something that was about body image but very different to what we see in the everyday and past sections of this project. The contrast that comes through in my work now has shown me the development that I have been waiting for.

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16933412_10210227178090750_871544733_nThese images that are not yet post produced have began to give  me an insight into the flow of the work. It is helping me to plan where my next shoot is going and how I want to present my work for my Final exhibition.

In the two images I have included the first looks at a more voyeuristic approach to the work. The female body in an over sexualised way which in modern social media is not uncommon now.

And the second image is one that has been seen before but we recreated finally after many mistimed attempts!! This image is almost symbolic for how she can be feeling in the last few years I have photographed her. It aligns with the idea of confusion and speed everything seems to move at that period of a persons life, Which is why I used the image.

The Kardashian makeover.

The Kardashian women and unrealistic body goals…

Today we are exposed to a constant stream of body ideals that are next to impossible to achieve. The most famous out there would be the Kardashians who are famous for the tiniest of waistlines and the biggest curves in all the right places.

The Photoshop behind the majority of this families success has led to girls body shaming in an effort to look like the latest Kardashian trend. It’s true what they say money really does speak, and if we had the money we would all turn into a Kim K look alike.

They encourage girls to objectify themselves even on social media all the girls post the most revealing images and in some bare all! Now that we can buy their waist-trainers, makeup and clothing line we want to be them. We don’t care about the amount of money it will cost the physical and mental dangers to ourselves. They aren’t just trend setters they are a trend in themselves.

Because they have created this perfect narrative on their Instagram we copy it. Although we slate them for how fake they are that even their ‘natural’ selfies are Photo shopped yet we do our best to recreate the look. Because of what we see it means me just can’t seem to be happy with what we do have ourselves. Now it is all about being self-obsessed and who’s Instagram looks the best.

 

looking at John Berger’s Ways of seeing.

After having read this book multiple times and the using it as a main reference in my dissertation I thought it was about time I put my thoughts out there.                                 Every time I find myself reading this book it is always the third chapter that sticks out the most for me.

His lack of empathy towards women in this chapter astounds me.. some see it as his way of celebrating women. I see it as condemning them. He talks about how women are nothing but a ‘mirror image’, but it was men who lead us to believe that was what we initially were for.

“To be born a women has been to be born, within an allotted and confined space, into the keeping of men… But this has been at the cost of a women’s self being split in two. A women must continually watch herself.  She is almost continually accompanied by her own image of herself”

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We really ave become conscious of how we are perceived by others. And Berger talks about how it in theory started back as far as the biblical story of Adam and Eve. The women made the first mistake and then was made to feel shame over her nakedness, From there they made Eve subservient to Adam.

And from then it is said to have started. Then referencing art work through the ages that has depicted the naked form of a women being watched or looking at herself. We work ourselves around how we want men to perceive us, body images stems from wanting acceptance and to be desired by men. And Berger put it in this format that shows us how women are vanity they only are pleased by what we see in our reflection.

But really yes women got handed the mirror by the artists/ photographers but it was the women who chose to accept what was handed to her and admire her own appearance.

Reflecting back…

Looking back to my first shoot and how the work has evolved from my initial ideas has left me feeling stuck on where to take it. I started of with wanting to look at the ideas of becoming the perfect image.

I started off with this over-sexualised shoot in which I tried to capture the body in a desirable way, it left me thinking what really is the perfect body shape. Which in turn is a very controversial everyone has a different view on this subject.

So with this work I asked my model what she had thought, and these are my two favourites from the shoots. I like the confidence that can be seen coming through in my images which also left me happy with my work. It is very different work from what I am used to and comfortable so as a first shoot I was proud of my work.

The model I used I have also used in past work and seeing the change in her as she has both grown in age and confidence has been interesting to see and document as I will talk about in my next blog post.

It is now a matter of finding the link between both my studio work and location to see how I can show this new chapter in her life as my final project. I will be experimenting with books and archival images from the past to show the growth and how although unknown to me a project that has been ongoing for the last few years. As I feel linking all my work together will show the correlation in my work form both this year and the previous.