Tag » portraiture
The topic of female sexuality never ceases to incite fear and outrage, from the biblical Eve to the mythological Medusa, whose phallic snakes coil about her face like hair. Too often, it seems to be up to male storytellers, artists, and philosophers to define a woman’s sex and the female body. We’re morally judged if we choose to be sexually active, and we are similarly shamed if we choose to abstain. When the photographer David Magnusson first read ... Read More
Imagine being sealed with your lover in a plastic bag, unable to breathe, your fleshy bodies pushing against each other, breaking the boundaries of the self. For the Japanese artist Photographer Hal, a mundane household item—a vacuum-sealable futon container—can visually bring to life the invisible emotional currents of love-making and sexual intimacy. He seeks out intriguing couples in bars, inviting them to sit for him in the nude; he then vacuum ... Read More
Warning: This post may not be safe for work. “Scars, rolls, bones, big or small breasts, wrinkles all tell a story,” says the photographer Jade Beall. Last summer, we featured Ashlee Wells Jackson’s remarkable and powerful series of photographs celebrating the post-pregnancy bodies of a diverse group of women; Beall does something similar in her new book A Beautiful Body Project: The Bodies of Mothers.    Like Jackson, Beall struggled ... Read More
Warning: This post may not be safe for work. Images of idealized beauty permeate most of the media we consume, and it has for hundreds of years; throughout decades dominated by shifting aesthetics and beauty standards, the idea of the attractive female has taken numerous forms. Titian’s reclining Venus, for example, is shaped differently from the fashion models of today’s ad campaigns, and African diasporic art offers yet another ideal. More often ... Read More
Warning: This post may not be safe for work. A few weeks ago, we featured a powerful group of photographs of a breast cancer survivor bearing her beautiful body as a means of encouraging women (and men!) around the world; sadly, the woman was criticized for her near-nudity, causing her to lose over 100 Facebook friends. As a culture, we are surrounded by images of naked, overtly sexualized women, and yet honest portrayals of brave women battling this illness and ... Read More
  Trigger warning: mildly graphic imagery In a startling critique of the ways in which images of women’s bodies are consumed, the artist Jessica Ledwich presents “The Fanciful, Monstrous Feminine,” a collection of surreal photographs documenting the psychological consequences of contemporary beauty standards and practices. For Ledwich, female sexuality is viewed as “threatening” and is therefore oppressed; here, she ... Read More
  When the photographer Julia Kozerski lost literally half her body weight, dropping from 338 to under 178 lbs, she cataloged her complex emotional reaction to her physical transformation in a series titled Half. Unlike most most weight loss media aimed at shaming women for our bodies, the artist avoids the display of any cheerful post-weight-loss confidence, forcing viewers to consider the murky and provocative intersections of body image and ... Read More
“Before it happened, I thought about going to the Peace Corps. I wanted to be somewhere, get somewhere bigger. I wanted to grow.” “Every part of me was altered.” Rochester, NY - 2013 Trigger warning: This post contains references to and descriptions of sexual assault. A few months ago, we featured some images and stories of survivors of rape and sexual assault through the lens of the incredible photographer Lydia Billings’ series ... Read More
  The photographer Alex John Beck knows faces; his portraits have been featured in New York Magazine and in the ad images of Ralph Lauren. Facial beauty in the cosmetic industry is often thought to be the result of symmetry; fashion and glamour images are often altered to make a model’s face appear more symmetrical. Beck’s new project Both Sides Of takes that definition of beauty to task; by compositing images from his portfolio, the artist ... Read More
  For her undergraduate project Young and Old, the freshman photographer Kelsey Duff photographed two models: the first is 18, and the second is 65. By excluding her subjects’ faces from her close frame, she catalogs the aging process as it might apply to an everywoman figure; despite trademark tattoos and painted toenails, each woman is stripped of clothing and other common markers of individual identity.    Duff’s warm natural ... Read More
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