In March of 2012, there was a sudden and sharp increase in legislation meant to limit citizens autonomy - namely around birth control, abortion rights, equal pay, and retractions of protections for survivors of domestic violence. I was angry, and needed a way to channel and use my anger productively. As a pretty anonymous figure in the world with not much agency or power, I decided that I wanted to create a body of share-able and instantly understandable work that people could connect with and use to help explain their own frustration and emotion, and potentially help them feel less alone and help continue to elevate stories that were needing to be heard.
The photographs in The Feminist Photos are a platform for the subjects' own voices, amplifying their stories and messages directly on their bodies, and contradicting traditional reductive photography and media practices by purposefully giving as much agency back to the subject as possible to determine the story their body communicates.
Patriarchy and white supremacy lead us to believe that women’s bodies, and the bodies of anyone who is not a cisgenderd man, are best used when accessorizing stories about men (predominantly white) and their lives, and that acceptable maleness and masculinity only exists within a narrow field. There are rarely opportunities where others are able to use their bodies to tell their own stories.
I believe in the power of intersectional feminism - the idea that more than the gender binary impacts our agency and movement through the world. Even though I still have a lot to learn, I think that by going together, we can continue to move the needle towards equality. I do my best to incorporate as many different aspects of women’s struggles in my work – I want everyone to see themselves in my photographs. The oppression and dehumanization of people affects everyone, and this project is one of the ways that I have sought to explore that.
Part of making that happen is being open to the idea that I will always have something to learn – that a detail, a concept, an idea, will always be out there seeking to be heard and understood. This is both frustrating and motivating. This project has not only helped me to express my anger towards the amount of power that patriarchy wields, but has been an incredible vehicle to understanding parts of feminism that I hadn’t previously been conscious of. As a result, I am so much more aware of what I am being taught by media and privilege, and how to try to circumvent that conditioning to achieve greater equality.
Creating a venue for these stories in a society that devalues them gives viewers an opportunity to question generic social truisms and find themselves challenged or validated by what they find.
Please swipe to view the images from this series, taken predominantly from 2012-2016, with more being added in 2020.
Selections from this project are printed and on display at Hotel Zena in Washington DC
This project has been featured on:
Huffington Post, Cosmopolitan, Upworthy, Marieclaire.it, D-La Republicca, The Feminist Wire, dot429, Unite Women, MotleyNews.net