This body of work uses the portrait as a means of making visible the older woman, i.e. women aged 50+. We are surrounded by images of women, but rarely do we see the older woman depicted in those images, she is thus rendered invisible.
In 16th century Dutch paintings the gaze of men look ut from the frame with a confidence that confirms their power and position within the culture and which challenge the viewer to return the gaze. The woman’s gaze, on the other hand, is said to be one of invitation to look at her, she does not challenge, but is there to be gazed at, i.e. she becomes an object.
By means of this series of portraits, in which all of the women are dressed the same in black with a white collar, a mode of dress used in the 16th centure to denote power and position, this body of work seeks to overturn the situation outlined above, by allowing the gaze of the women portrayed to challenge in the same way as the portraits of men, and thus to make each one of them visible in their own right without any clue as to their role in life. Their gaze challenges the view to look, and questions the right of the viewer to return their gaze. This questioning is not an aggressive act, it is saying “I am not an object, I have a right to gaze at you”.
Women With Attitude
Women with Attitude is a body of work that celebrates the older woman, her sense of style and zest for life as she continues to manage the physical challenges that come with the ageing body.
Nine women, aged between 60 and 90, took part in this collaborative project in which, together with the photographer, they explored not only their sense of style, but also their attitudes towards their clothing, being older, being photographed in a studio setting, and having themselves documented in what can be a very unforgiving medium, the photograph.
The collaborative process involved five shoots with the participants being given a choice as to what they wore for each shoot. Each participant completed a questionnaire, as well as taking part in a video, with the stated objective of gathering informaton about themselves, their individual relationsip with clothes, their attitudes towards style and fashion, and the way clothes express their individual identities as they negotiate the ageing process.
All photographs are false in some way, but these women have agreed to work with the photographer to make images that they believe show some truth about growing old.
These images explore how costume/clothing can bring about changes in how a person presents to the world – how clothing is used as a means of communication and identity.
I have always loved the simple black and white image, in particular, portraits. These images, some shot on 35mm film and others digitally, I believe demonstrate the continuing power of the black and white image.
These images are portraits of various people shot over the last three years.