The concept of the female gaze seeks to approach subject and material in an emotional, empathetic, and respectful way. In contrast, the concept of the male gaze seeks to control and objectify the subject. Throughout the history of photography- and media in general, women have been used. They have been represented in a sexualized manner. Whether it is the lack of clothes, the focus on the nude form, or the twisted- backbreaking poses they are made to do to over-extenuate their body; they are being used.
I began this project wanting to make a statement on feminism and fashion photography, but was not sure what path that was. I did one shoot and had a model wear a blazer with nothing underneath, exposing her breasts- while holding a backbreaking pose. At the time I thought I was making juxtaposition with the male clothing and female poses, however, I soon learned I was objectifying her. The comments on social media when I posted this were all about how “hot” and “sexy” she was. It was all about her exposed breast. Regardless of whether or not you are a male- it is possible to still photograph in the male gaze. This sparked a new idea for me- I decided to photograph women in the utmost confidence they could bring. I had them lock eye contact with the camera, and hold their chins high. I had them wear clothing that made them confident or helped them style outfits that would ultimately do so. I took inspiration from artists such as Petra Collins, and I researched the fashion industry to get an understanding of how much the objectification of women is still relevant. This project is ongoing, and each day I spend as a woman in the field of photography, I become more aware of how important it is for change. The status of this project is moving forward. I am using the knowledge of the fashion industry research that I gained when I first began this, but now I am seeking powerful women. I am photographing women around me in power- whether it is in a political position, a strong career, or even just empowered within themselves. I am capturing who they are and using the lens to dive deeper into representing my fellow women the correct way.