In her new series titled Be A Woman, the photographer Hanna Seweryn delicately captures and gives meaning to the everyday activities of women in the home. By placing her subjects behind a backlit screen, she highlights subtle and tender moments of personal care. Her rendition of a subject whom we view as an everywoman figure sits in a chair, reading her book or playing with her cat. The screen adds to the voyeuristic nature of the images, granting us insight into personal and private sphere of a womans room. While photographs often aim to shed light on their subjects, these only display a shadowy form, sparking our curiosity and inviting us into a realm that is almost uncomfortably intimate.
The womans relationship to the screen is movingly ambiguous; it is unclear whether she is isolated and trapped by the domestic frame or enriched by her clear dominion over the space. Like much feminist art, Seweryns ambitious images bring the personal or feminine realm to the forefront, making it public. Each image alone might read like a rare glimpse into a world meant to be confidential, but together they are reminiscent of shadow puppetry, creating the sensation that the female sitter is consciously putting on a carefully constructed show for us. Highlighting the tenuous division between the private and the public, this performance of sorts heightens the drama of what we might consider mundane; viewers are compelled to construct a narrative of this womans life right up until she exits the frame, leaving only a chair, a table, and a single tulip in her stead. Take a look.
Thanks to My Modern Met
Images via My Modern Met/Hanna Seweryn
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