Part 3, Project 3 Exercise
Looking at Nigel Shafran’s images, I’m not surprised they were taken by a man. I suppose there is still an idea that the domestic realm belongs to women, but the reality is that men do the washing up, they do it because that’s what people do. The question in the text feels a bit like the kind of question someone would ask if they thought that men help women in the home. I don’t like the question because it’s an example of a style of thinking that puts the mental load for housework onto women. I wouldn’t be surprised if the images were taken by a woman and the idea I should be surprised it’s a man is frustrating.
I think gender can contribute to the creation of an image, but it certainly doesn’t have to. However, I do see differences between the subject matter that men and women tackle, and I’ve written before that my personal observation is that I see far more female artists using their nakedness to communicate than men. It doesn’t mean men aren’t doing that, but in the art I am exposed to I don’t tend to see it. However, I think overall it just depends what someone wants to express, the ideas that they want to explore; that could tie in with gender, sexual orientation, or a plethora of other markers around identity but it doesn’t have to.
We want to communicate and express our own experiences and the meaning they give to our lives. We want to tell our own story, and gender can be a part of how other people see us and the box we’re subsequently put into. It moulds and shapes our experience; certainly I feel it has impacted mine in a very negative way and my gender is a fundamental aspect of that experience; without being a female I think my circumstances would have been very different. What was expected of me by my family and by society would have been different.
Not including people can help us connect with the scene as we can overlay our own selves onto the scene more successfully. It can also help us to question what is going on. People grab our attention, they become the focus of the image, and if people were included in these images by Shafran then I doubt the rest of the image would be so carefully examined. By default, the people would become the subject matter and the meaning would be changed.
Friedewald, B. (2018). Women photographers. 2nd ed. Munich: Prestel.
JANSEN, C. (2017). GIRL ON GIRL. London: LAURENCE KING PUBLISHING.
Solomon, J. and Spence, J. (n.d.). What can a woman do with a camera?. London: Scarlet Press.