Category Archives: Project 3 – Fictional texts

Exercise 4.5 – Fictional texts: Holly goes off-piste, again

Lately I have been reading King Kong Theory, by Virginie Despentes (2010), which is about how women are still required to conform to what the patriarchy thinks they should be, and any woman who does not accede the stereotypes of Mother or Whore is considered a target for abuse. A glaring example of this in in today’s news – it is reported that Laura Kuenssburg, the BBC Political Reporter has been given a bodyguard to protect her at the Labour Party conference. Various politicos are opining that it is a publicity stunt (though quite why Kuenssburg needs publicity is not clear), but many people have gone public to support her position and vulnerability, which was illustrated by a chorus of hisses at a general election meeting earlier this year. Yvette Cooper, Diane Abbott and Harriet Harman have all roundly and loudly condemned the threats, and all three are no strangers to online bullying themselves.

I find this all very dispiriting. In sixty years, have we really moved feminism so little towards the mainstream that people feel it is perfectly ok to vilify and defeminise any woman who appears to be anything other than an unopinionated doormat.

So, in support of Ms Kuenssburg and all the other women who are routinely insulted, bullied, threatened and objectified both online and in real life (have a look at the website the Everyday Sexism Project if you don’t know what I mean) I have put together this series of words and images All the images were taken of a woman by a woman, and about women, for our own entertainment. They are a reflection of the confused stereotyping of women that is so prevalent in modern society.

Symbolism:

  • monochrome and inverted images of the same person – black and white viewpoints; stereotyping
  • gold leaf behind the images – the often unacknowledged/partially hidden value that women offer to society
  • faceless woman –  Everywoman
  • pedestal and wings – angel and demon
  • the words (in set below) – some of the names that women are called to synthesise them as a group, one that is different from men.

I also tried a second idea, as a single series of images without the gold leaf, which is shown below and which I am calling The Dichotomy of Being Female.

two side of woman

Finally, I haven’t a clue if these work, but I had a lot of fun making them. (Also, in an ideal world I would re -photograph the individual gold-leaf images, at a higher f-stop, as they are a little fuzzy around the edges.)

References

Despentes, Virginie (2010 e-edition) King Kong Theory. London: Serpent’s Tail.

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Some thought and a project on Section 4, part 1

The early exercise in Part 4 concern the idea of taking images made by other people and giving them a variety of alternative texts to play with the meaning of the photograph. Rather than using someone else’s work, I have decided instead to use some images I found in a photography book that I purchased online.  Part 2 of the Section asks us to make photographs in response to words, while this one is the converse – using a variety of words to complement images.

Background

Some time ago, I purchased a secondhand copy of the  book The Camera I: Photographic Self-Portraits from the Audrey and Sydney Irmas Collection, by RA Sobieszek and Deborah Irmas. Inside several of the first few pages were eight of what I am told are Polaroid negatives. They had carefully been placed one inside each page spread, in what appears to have been a deliberate way. An example is shown below.

P1640359v2

Obviously, I know absolutely nothing about this girl and why the negatives have been placed so carefully within the pages of a book about self-portraiture, but the negatives fascinate me, and they beg for a story to be constructed around them.

So, these are the images, inverted from the negatives and tidied up a bit. I am not sure which way around they should be, so have made a judgement based on the way they were presented in the book. She is beautiful, isn’t she?

Some of them are not quite in focus, and I am not so keen on no 8. However, all together they are intriguing . Part 2 of this project will look at how I have decided to interpret them