September 16, 2004
Female Portraits of Awkwardness, of Remaking Oneself, and of Beauty
* The awkwardness of adolescence and the onset of sexuality characterize the female portraits of Hellen Van Meene, whose images are featured in the latest issue of Aperture. Her work can be seen online at her own website, at the Matthew Marks gallery website, and over at postmedia. The online images look good (if somewhat flat color-wise), but the magazine images are really lovely -- a great selection, with luscious color. Check it out at the newstand if you get a moment.
As the magazine article and these online write-ups (1, 2) note, what appears to be quietly eerie documentary is actually the product of very elaborate staging, though the staging serves the purpose of teasing out and underlining certain unpleasant realities of being a girl at a particular age, while maintaining a simultaneous undercurrent of fantasy.
* The work of Margie Geerlinks also explores the nature of identity and sexuality, but more aggressively asks questions about beauty and expectations in her more explicitly staged, conceptual, and confrontational photographs. An article about Geerlinks can be found here , and an extensive portfolio of images here; a few more from artnet here.
"Living Dolls" Margie Geerlinks image
* Geerlink's work can also be found in a collection of images by highly regarded women photographers presented by Dove Canada as part of the project "Beyond Compare: Women Photographers on Beauty". The exhibit, according to Dove, "speaks to the uniqueness of each artist's interpretation of beauty...Dove's hope is that this work will help increase the number of women who take great care of themselves and feel beautiful each day". This type of corporate project sounds like the recipe for an icky disaster, but the diversity of talent represented is very impressive, including such decidedly non-mainstream photographers like Laura Letinsky, Desiree Dolron, Tomoko Sawada, and Julie Moos.
A certain brightness and uniformity of presentation is nevertheless inevitable (some of the edgier photographers come across as glossier and more girl-powerish in this context than they might have intended, especially with only one image per photographer), but on the whole it's quite interesting and well-intentioned. Your mileage may vary, of course.
"Friends and Enemies (Anne and Bayley) Julie Moos image
* Finally, Amanda Tetrault is a Canadian photographer with a reasonable establishment pedigree as a photographer (interned at Magnum, worked with Maine Photographic Workshops and with Steve McCurry), but she tackles her subject matter with a style and sensibility that is fresh, offbeat, contemporary, and frequently moving in its sense of the absurd (as is the case with her upcoming book about life with her schizophrenic father, Phil and Me). The Observer has an essay from Tetrault about the book and her father, and Photo-Eye has a book-tease. (Tetrault's website is also worth checking out for the "fruit nudes" and especially the "anecdotes" projects).
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Your photographic skills are excellent and your images refreshing. I'v enjoyed the pages of your site that I have reviewed to this point in time and lok forward to returning often Michael J Eva, www.scenicsensations.com
Posted by: Michael J Eva at Oct 3, 2004 2:34:56 PM