Copyright © Gwendolyn Anne. All rights reserved.
I use self-portraiture to examine ways I navigate issues of body image, self-confidence, and societal expectations to conform to normative standards of behavior. Using a performative method of creating photographs, I present a positive, confident self-image that addresses universal struggles of women in particular. My art work comes from a very personal place, but that opens the doors to broader dialogue about the politics of representation.
Women’s bodies and beauty have been represented in many ways, but my primary interest is in how feminine beauty is represented in contemporary culture. Images work to form an often narrow and unrealistic standard of beauty. By photographing myself I am representing an invisible group of women. I want to bring that invisible woman back into view in a positive, empowering way.
I photograph myself because as both the photographer and subject, I am not struggling to make another person conform to my vision, understand my intentions, or have my views imposed on them. In using myself, I become a representation of women, especially women in the same demographic as myself. My direct gaze engages the audience through my relationship with the camera. I confront and challenge the viewer’s gaze by questioning who is looking and controlling what is seen. The confident, independent woman in my images challenges the cultural norms that single women or large women are unhappy or uncomfortable with themselves.