Sophie and Tiana – The Street

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The purpose of this photo series was to bring fashion to the streets; allowing the models, Sophie and Tiana, to be themselves entirely through their clothing, hair and makeup choice. My intention was to show girls empowering each other, supporting each other’s decision to refuse to conform to how girls ‘should’ dress or look.

The objective with my work is to portray the quirky side of each model’s personality; showing them expressing themselves through how they look. I then linked this to the locations the images have been captured in, using the time of day and lighting to create a grungy/mysterious vibe. Shooting with the in-camera flash has allowed me to create the urban and gritty vibe I was aiming for, with harsh lighting and shadows. However, for this method to be more effective I would need to use a reflector to ensure the shadows are falling where I want them too.

The three images I have used as my finals fit together well as I have included both full and mid shots, full shots allow the viewer to see the whole outfit being advertised and mid shots allow viewers to then focus more on their hair and make-up, which completed the overall look.

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Feminism

model: rachel andrews

The debate on gender equality – concerning issues such as sexuality and the rape crisis due to the over-sexualisation of the female body – has been ongoing for years. Throughout the 1960’s rape culture was very real, women were trapped in violent marriages and unfair, poorly paid jobs. Second-wave feminism was a feminist activity which began in the 1960’s, mainly in the US, it had then spread around women internationally over the years and ended in the 1980’s. Throughout this time woman were fighting for further equality than had been gained throughout the first-wave; the main view of the women involved in the second-wave was that culture was sexist, still seeing women as the weaker gender whose body was seen as an object.

INSRIRATION

One of the most iconic feminist photographers throughout the 1970-1980’s was Cindy Sherman. Sherman created a series of images named, ‘Untitled Film Stills’, which included self-portraits showing young, beautiful women in stereotypical ways/roles.

Sherman is a photographer whose work, I believe, stands out the most to me throughout this era. Her black and white photography has made a great influence in my ideas on how I want to produce my final images. She has also used herself as her own model, which reflects that these opinions are that of her own as well as those of the women Sherman is playing the role of.

The Studium and The Punctum

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Guy Bourdin – The Estate, Autumn 1979

“Studium – the information which a photographer puts in to a photo to tell a story”

Although I believe Guy Bourdin’s fashion photography is not the most basic photography produced compared to other fashion photographers, I do believe his photos are quite to the point; he has been commissioned to advertise shoes which he has achieved by making them the main focal point. Bourdin uses bright, eye catching colours to grab the viewers’ attention; in relation to colour theory he uses the colours that contrast and sit together perfectly.

This image itself has a pretty simple message, that Charles Jourdan’s shoes are worn by models, however the aesthetic of this image makes it very likeable, his target audience is clearly women however the use of a female model being portrayed in a sexualised manor will also target males who will then in turn purchase the products advertised. Bourdin has chosen to use a ‘perfect’ model, along with the black clothing connoting a sexual message.

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Jessica Ledwich – Monstrous Feminine

“Punctum – the information contained in a photo which provokes an intense personal and emotional response”

The series of images ‘Monstrous Feminine’ were taken by Jessica Ledwich to reflect and exaggerate the struggles women feel they need to put themselves through daily to be considered the perfect female. Inspired by Barbara Creed’s book ‘The Monstrous-Feminine’, Ledwich has explored the view on women from what society expects to see from a woman and from the process which a woman goes through to meet these standards; Ledwich helps to show that all women have flaws, contrary to what they let the public eye see.

The series, this photo especially, definitely triggered an emotional response within me as Ledwich really touches on the reality of the female body rather than over-sexualising or glamourizing it. There may also be an emotional link with husbands/boyfriends/fathers who may watch women go through these struggles. After viewing these images I felt a mixture of anger and upset, as I feel women should not have to feel this however I know exactly how it feels to be put under pressure to be perfect.

Bourdin, G. (2016) Guy Bourdin – Louise Alexander Gallery. Available at: https://www.louise-alexander.com/artist/guy-bourdin/ (Accessed: 3 October 2016).
Ledwich, J. (2016) Monstrous feminine. Available at: http://www.jessicaledwich.com/the-ferocious.html (Accessed: 3 October 2016).