Suggested Research – in response to Assignment Four

As assignment 4 was an essay there were no images to re-work, but Russell included several links and interesting points within his feedback. I decided to research the ideas and to see if they would form any alterations to my essay.

Nikon labelled sexist after asking 32 male photographers to promote its new camera – but no women
‘We had not put enough of a focus on this area,’ admits camera giant

In September 2017 Nikon in Asia was severely criticised on Social Media after selecting 32 “creative individuals” to test and promote its new camera, the D850,  without including a single woman. In a statement they said this was more accident than design as some of the females invited to take part were unavailable but admitted that they should have in effect tried harder.

At a global level, Nikon has invited four photographers to act as ambassadors for the launch of the D850, one of which is Italian photographer Rosita Lipari.

We take pride in celebrating female talent and include many brilliant female photographers in our Ambassador line-ups globally and will continue to do so.

Rosita Lipari is a wedding photographer who takes very different shots compared to ‘traditional’ work.

In the fashion industry there will always be some kind of divide until society throughout the world stops seeing one, or emphasising it. Different cultures have different laws/rules governing how men/women can act. Photography is just a reflection of this wider world.

Most recently John Lewis thought they would partially address this imbalance by getting rid of gender labels, but this seems to have backfired with some as much as it has been praised by others.

Reading the article drew my attention to this as well.

Fashion is a minefield for larger stores it would seem.

Gap, for example, came under fire for referring to girls as “social butterflies” and boys as “little scholars” in an advert promoting its new clothing range.

Asda was criticised for the gender disparity in its clothing, with girls’ clothes featuring slogans such as “Hey Cutie” and “Ponies Rock” in contrast with “Future Scientist” and “Bows Will Be Boys” on boys’ clothing.

Being a parent to now grown-up children I never forced them to wear ‘gender’ specific clothing. As a toddler my daughter wore hand-me-downs from both sexes, I hated anything pink but sometimes she would choose the most girly fluffy tops to wear, the next day she would be happy grubbing about in shorts and t-shirts that were ‘male’ in design. Likewise when my son came along he would dress-up in bride’s outfits and push a pink buggy, he also insisted on playing with my daughter’s Barbie dolls, so much so I eventually bought him one, to go along with an Action Man!

I don’t think it is the labels that desperately need to alter, at the end of the day at a certain point the male and female body shape does start to alter, but the inclusion of different designs, colours and slogans on the clothing would be a better way forward.

To look at how Instagram may be helping the ‘female gaze’ or influencing photography in general Russell pointed me towards an article on the recent Instagram selfies of Cindy Sherman.

“Cindy prefers not to comment on her Instagram posts.”

This was the reply from Cindy Sherman’s New York gallery, Metro Pictures…

A private Instagram account run by Sherman featuring a new series of selfies was recently made public, creating an art world sensation overnight. Sherman has a long history of dramatically staged self-portraiture, and in a sense pioneered the idea of the “selfie” decades before social media began.

That area between real life and the theatre of the selfie is what Sherman is already so adept at presenting, but in the context of an era where Donald Trump has repeatedly criticized women for their physical appearance, her images of distorted female faces take on a much more defiant tone.

The article also linked ideas of what the future holds for presenting/exhibiting work:

What does our digital landscape mean for the changing nature of exhibiting one’s work? Is it better or worse than showing in a real gallery space? “The difference between exhibiting online over exhibiting in a real space is ‘depth’ in every possible sense,” said New York writer and curator Jeffrey Grunthaner. “You can’t really take a point of view on an image; there’s no genuine scale to it. It’s simply there, floating in digitality. There’s a certain potential for dictating exactly how viewers look at an artwork that is quite appealing. As I see it, the difficulty in accepting the ascendancy of exhibiting online relates to the proscribed corporate identity most online venues have.”

A section that resonated with me, which may help the flow of my essay was a comment on narcissism:

In many cases, Instagram is not art but a digital dumping ground – a playground for society’s worst narcissists. For an artist like Sherman to be using it as an exhibition space raises the bar for users seeking attention or claiming to be artists.

Russell also directed me to look at work by the late Francesca Woodman

The first solo shows of her work opened in 1986, and drew a great deal of attention. More crucially, she was championed by American critic Rosalind Krauss, who saw her photographs – perhaps somewhat predictably – as an attempt to resist the male gaze (Krauss has written that Woodman exhibits a tendency to “camouflage” herself, attempting to “hide” even as she stands in front of the camera). Although some continued to see the work as adolescent and excessively narcissistic, others began to regard Woodman as the last of the great Modernist photographers, a line that may be traced back to Man Ray and the other surrealists. Later, Cindy Sherman, a contemporary of Woodman’s, became a fan – and perhaps Woodman’s influence can also be seen in the work of Nan Goldin and David Armstrong.

From the Victoria Miro website:

Woodman is often situated alongside her contemporaries of the late 1970s such as Ana Mendieta and Hannah Wilke, yet her work also foreshadows artists such as Cindy Sherman, Sarah Lucas, Nan Goldin and Karen Finley in their subsequent dialogues with the self and reinterpretations of the female body.

It was also suggested that I look further into Annie Leibovitz and Sally Mann, both are so prolific but I liked this article on Annie Leibovitz:

…and I found these whilst diving about the web:

The inspiring exhibition #girlgaze: a frame of mind collects photographs captured by a diverse crew of international young female-identifying artists. Primarily sourced from social media, these visionaries are given the authority and significance they deserve in an IRL framework at the Annenberg Space for Photography in Los Angeles. Each of the 150-plus images broaches the complex topic of selfhood and all that encompasses, from body image to beauty to race. We spoke to four participating young women — with sharply differentiated aesthetics and philosophies — and discussed the photographers they admire, the way gender shapes their vision, and what they wish to change in both the photography industry and the world at large.

#girlgaze: a frame of mind is an interactive, digitally driven exhibit for all ages that maps the imaginative landscape of young, female and trans-identifying photographers from around the world. Largely sourced through social media, the curated images’ raw vitality is their only constant – female, WOC, and trans-identifying perspectives are presented on everything from identity and standards of beauty to relationships, mental health and creativity. While viewing these stunning, never-before-exhibited images, visitors will have the opportunity to create and share their own photos on social media.

The exhibit curators are Girlgaze, a collective founded by the famed British-born television host, women’s advocate and photographer Amanda de Cadenet. Girlgaze began as a social media movement with over 450,000 submissions on Instagram and has grown into the first multimedia platform to support girls behind the camera. In addition to its digital showcase for images, Girlgaze provides a larger ecosystem supporting the work and careers of fledgling female and gender-nonconforming photographers, artists and creatives, from providing grants to securing jobs.

When I found Sally Mann’s work—its arrestingly private views of family, of bodies, of something too subjective to name—my understanding of the way a photograph bore through the eye, inward, proved useless. Here were photographs so technically familiar, yet completely alien in terms of how and what they showed: the bracing intimacy of a mother’s connection to her child. A wife’s perspective of her husband’s ailing body. She was the photographer who made me realize I’d only ever looked at pictures taken by men.

On the topic of self-image, anxiety, insecurity and confidence…This was just plain scary…to think a lot Western women undergo surgery to a prescriptive ideal of beauty and now Chinese women are doing the same!

…and another link provided by Russell

Another fascinating cultural difference on gender came to light when I found several articles about Muxes.–Not-Man-Woman-Trans-or-Gay-20170515-0020.html

I haven’t made any real in-depth observations or comments on this page as there is so much to look up and think about. This is more a page for reference and further contemplation!


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