Location: Poughkeepsie, NY, United States
In 2019 I was invited by A Yellow Rose Project to make work in response to the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th amendment. The prompt was open to interpretation.
In order to make images I need to feel emotionally invested. While I’m all for women’s rights, I wasn’t inspired to make images specifically about the 19th amendment. I realized it’s because I’ve always had the right to vote and never felt the frustration of that particular inequality.
This led me to think about when I have felt slighted and it took maybe one millisecond to come up with being a ‘woman photographer.’
Just that in itself, that I’m labeled a ‘woman’ photographer and not just ‘photographer’ annoys me to no end.
Men control the whole history of art. In my formal education in photography, 99.9% of the work I was introduced to was made by male photographers. When we’re taught that this is the IMPORTANT AND CORRECT work to emulate; a white male point of view, where does that leave me? How can I honestly express myself as a woman when most of what I’ve seen/learned from is what men have made? If I’m ever able to unlearn the rules of male photography, truly express myself as a woman, (and I do NOT mean the ‘female gaze,’ a limiting, condescending term) would that work be rejected as wrong?
As men control the world, we are left to gain license from them; they allowed us the right to vote, to be educated, to have jobs, to be included in the art world (a tiny percentage anyway).
In the pieces I made for A Yellow Rose project, my photographs are seen through a window cut into photographs I love made by ‘Master Photographers.’
Will my work always be considered less than or unimportant because it wasn’t made with an 8x10 or an American (male) poet’s prose as inspiration or of new topographics (which are so old by now) or uninteresting because the nudity isn’t sexual and therefore useless to the male gaze or irrelevant because I’m over 35 and I have children?