Thursday, 26 July 2018

4 Feminist Photographers You Need To Know About

I've always been drawn to photography that represented women in a powerful and strong way, rather than being photographed for the male gaze, for someone to look at them like a piece of meat rather than a human being.
These photographers represent the new wave of feminist photography, proving that it doesn't all have to fall under the same aesthetic.

Maisie Cousins

If I could describe Maisie's photography style in 3 words it would be honest, natural... and a little grotesque - and I mean that in the best way possible. Her work consists of naked female bodies, and still life of flowers and food, which is drawn together through her concept of femininity. Her use of cropping and close ups along with bright colours usually associated with femininity make a really interesting contrast with the mood conveyed by her imagery. It's raw and real, and doesn't try and distort the female body into looking 'pretty' or 'delicate'. I love that by using natural materials, she makes a link between women and nature, and represents the natural female body without any shame. There's a sense of power in her photography, like the women are taking control of their bodies - they are not put there for the male gaze.


Ashley Armitage

Ashley is one of the first fashion photographers who really caught my eye. She is a 23 year old feminist photographer and her instagram account, @ladyist, showcases her work in which she photographs the reality of being a female. She doesn't filter femininity, which I find so refreshing in a world where all girls are made to feel ashamed of their body and the hair that grows on it. Ashley uses photography as a medium to diminish these social constructs, in the most visually pleasing way possible. Drawing mainly from personal experience, Ashley documents the journey from girlhood to womanhood, from tampons to pubic hair. Her bubblegum aesthetic mixed with real women and girls is the essence of her work, as she aims to promote body positivity. What I find most interesting about her photos is that she only really takes pictures of her friends, adding to the authenticity and intimacy of her pictures. Although relatively new on the block, she has an impressive track record, having already worked with companies such as Nordstrom, Chanel, Refinery 29, Dazed and so on.

Petra Collins

Capturing youth through pink tinted visuals is probably what Petra’s most known for, but her work showcases so much more than this. Her personal projects capture the female experience and focus on aspects of growing up such as social media, friendships and body image issues. The thing I love about her photographs are that they express the reality of adolescence but in a surreal, hazy aesthetic, making her work the perfect dose of nostalgia we all need in our lives. Her boudoir picture diaries are my favourite, where she photographs the things that go on behind a teenage girl’s bedroom door, highlighting the models faces with neon pink, blue or orange lights. Petra only shoots on film cameras, adding to the vintage vibes of her soft focus, highly saturated pictures. I think what makes her pictures so relatable and appealing is that the models are real girls. Petra embraces their natural appearance rather than blurring out imperfections, and her pictures evoke a sense of embracing and celebrating female sexuality, rather than exploiting it.

Zanele Muholi

As well as being an extremely talented photographer and visual artist, Zanele is an incredible activist who uses her platform to give a voice to the LGBTQIA community in Africa, and captures their experience through her photography. Her photography is beautifully emotive and powerful, and all her subjects look the camera right in the eye, and it appears like they are addressing you directly which I think is something that is really hard to do successfully. She's challenging perceptions and using her creativity to express her reaction towards racism and violence is South Africa. Her visual communication is a mix between documentary and fine art, and shows the diversity and beauty in the community that she is representing. One of my favourite projects that she done was 'Faces and Phases', in which she captured the experience of the black lesbian and transgender community in Africa. I'd never seen anything like it before, and it brought the problem of homophobic crimes in Africa to my attention. I love and appreciate when people use art to speak up and explore issues that they face and that others face on a daily basis. Zanele's photographers are beautifully simple yet speak a thousand words.

Which photographer is your favourite? Let me know!

Much love,

Orlagh xx


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