Here we have a selection of some of my experiments so far this term from looking at the kitchen and especially baking as a way of conceptualising the creation of a child. Let me know what you think, I’d love some feedback. 🙂
I saw Åsa talk about her work recently and I couldn’t wait to share it on here. The Boy & The Twins is an absolutely fabulous piece of work and her work in progress series Aryan looks absolutely superb also.
The way she interweaves the staged posed images of the boy against her own autobiographical images of her and her sister in their tomboy childhood is so beautiful and works so well. Coming from knowing quite a lot about and having experienced from others the issues and feelings around being transgender, I’ve felt in my own experiments how difficult a subject it is to tackle as an artist, as we are surrounded by imagery and projects on gender that I feel sometimes almost work against the feelings and reality of being transgender.
As far as I can see; to be trans is not necessarily to be flamboyant or loudly self-expressive, nor is it to comply to strict social rules on gender purely to blend in. It’s the ability to be yourself and be happy with that, much like everyone else. It’s not ABOUT becoming something else, it’s purely about being (and sometimes, becoming) yourself and being true to that. Anyway to move on, I love how she gently juxtaposes the two halves of boyhood. There’s a time in some trans individuals’ lives where they almost return to this boyhood or girlhood they perceive to have ‘missed’ and follow an accelerated version, returning back to secret dreams and desires they may have repressed (either consciously or subconsciously) from their childhood and perhaps adolescence. This idea is what comes across so strongly to me in the juxtaposing of the two images.
There’s an awkward sense of reflection on the part of Jacob, the boy; where it’s almost like the images of Johannesson and her sister become projections of his own subconscious past as perhaps two halves. Some might feel this split is about gender directly but others feel this split is between the physical body and the inner identity.
The Johannesson sisters are almost stalked by Jacob across the images, like he is observing them; perhaps their behaviour, perhaps just their twin-ness; much like one would observe animals on safari or in a zoo. Jacob’s poses suggest a sense of frustration and boredom which I feel is very telling of his own life story; there is always a lot of waiting and seeing involved.
Jacob holds a banana skin with a semi-clenched fist, his eyebrows sense a certain agitation, whether it’s because he is being photographed in the first place, play acting for the camera or if the image touches in on a subconscious frustration at the time. The banana’s reference to absence of full male genitalia is interesting especially as it appears like knuckle dusters, another subtle reference to masculinity.
Jacob and his partner stand on the path together; their clothes echo one another and they stand together staring out at us. The path looks fairly derelict and just behind them lies the remains of a broken children’s treehouse, once again whispering suggestions of boyhood. The image is named The Path, naturally echoing Jacob and many others’ journey ahead.
Here is at last a final edit of a piece called Fleeting Other; looking at pregnancy, the female form and the experiences of pregnant women in their lead up to motherhood. I wanted to explore how women see one another as well as how they see themselves; the forms suggest growth, proportions and perspectives. The work also touches on the isolation of experience of each of the women despite the solidarity as mothers.
Do let me know of your thoughts on the work. 🙂
So here is the first shoot of hopefully a few more of my pregnancy series without a name yet, I was focusing more on the interactions between the women, leaving some to their own devices and others where I intervened. These are just some rough shots to add to my growing collection of content. Photographing such a large group outside, especially with the weather like it was, was a challenge but good fun.
Tell me what you think, of the project as a whole so far or of these images in particular, I love getting feedback.
More photography from location scouting, these locations have something extra special about them and I can’t wait to shoot in them. More photographs to come soon!
As I was photographing inside the women’s homes, I was so aware of what was around me and with how much I wanted to escape that and seek a blank canvas. As I thought about it, I realised that perhaps I could focus more on the anticipation of motherhood rather than the boredom side of it and look at photographing in areas of play for the future children, looking at recreational grounds and playgrounds. I’m also photographing these places at a time of change, when light becomes dark, it’s a temporary stage of the day that happens and then quickly passes and I’m fascinated about working with it. Some of these locations are strange places, far away from homes and some are rundown or forgotten, all of this is looking at ideas surrounding the fears some women go through.
There are further location scouting images coming up next.
Sadly I’ve been unwell for over the last few weeks but I have been working as much as possible. Here are some photographs of my latest shoot a little while ago but soon you will see posts of some new shoots in recreational areas, moving away from the domestic into the open.
Perhaps I’ve illustrated this post with too many images of Hellen van Meene’s work but her work is both exquisite as well as huge in quantity. Hellen’s way of portraying her subjects (often female as well) from what seems all sorts of backgrounds is something unique. The images are just as much about her than they are about the subjects themselves, yet I’m still mystified by her.
She also has a sense of boredom and playfulness in the work, plus she has photographed pregnant women (by the looks of it adolescent pregnant girls), which is naturally of interest to my series. Perhaps there is something in the fact that all her images are in square format, is this what makes her stand out and for images to be so much more recognisable. Personally I think it comes down to her subjects, the ones she chooses as they all have a certain strange quality to them. I know there is something to be said for her use of natural light over artificial light which is what I like to focus on myself. In this project I have solely used natural light so far because it lets you focus on the model and the composition and the results are so beautiful.
Some of the portraits, they clearly have experimented with exploring the surroundings in the most subtle gestures but they make the portraits all the more beautiful. There is something to be learned in her work about light, her guiding of the model and colour palette.
I’ve been aware of Justine Kurland’s work for less than a year and I’m still astounded that I don’t see it more often. Her landscapes are exquisite and her portrayal of these all-female utopian communities are superb. More than most artists I know, she explores the female as powerful and at one with nature, be they groups of pregnant women and mothers or young adolescent girls taking on the world together, escaping from our modern world. For me it echoes Lord of the Flies, like a parallel of it, where instead of a strong undertone of despair and madness, there is one of hope and togetherness. I haven’t seen another photographer approach the idea of pregnant women as groups in such an inspiring way without even a hint of cliches (apart from maybe the fact of their nudity). In my work, I keep thinking of exploring the same approach of women in groups in a landscape, together… However, with Justine’s work so strong, I’m going to have to push it further, to give my own touch to it. Kurland’s work is so much more about them as a solid group, as a community together facing the odds whereas I’m still looking at the waiting, the carrying, the isolation despite being part of a group…
So as promised, here is a snippet of the 4000 photographs I took whilst I was away, they follow around the theme of being an island, being isolated, being alienated from everything and everyone. It’s about that reaching out from an island to connect to others and other objects. Hope you like them, tell me your thoughts.