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Female Gaze: Portrayals of Femininity by Female Photographers

Susan Meiselas: Carnival Strippers

Susan Meiselas was 24 when she encountered carnival dancers and began photographing them, initially struck by the way that the women were making a living from men objectifying them. “The idea of projecting a self to attract a male gaze was completely counter to my sense of culture – to what I wanted for myself – so I was fascinated by women who were choosing to do that.” 

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Nadine Ijewere: Tallawah

Photographer Nadine Ijewere and hairstylist Jawara Wauchope decided to name their recent collaborative series Tallawah to evoke this spirit of strength and beauty found in Jamaica and its people.

The Jamaican Patois word ‘tallawah’ translated describes something “strong-willed, fearless, not to be underestimated”, according to photographer Nadine Ijewere. 

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Alexandra Leese: Yumi and the Moon

The 10th-century Japanese folk story The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter was the starting point for Alexandra Leese’s mystical photo series and zine Yumi and the Moon.
For the series, Leese was inspired by the moon and its associations with energy, femininity and rebirth – qualities that also appealed to her protagonist, Yumi Carter.

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Lina Scheynius: 11

Lina Scheynius’ beautiful and unflinching photo series 11, which was published as a book last year, documents her best friend Amanda’s final month of pregnancy and birth, and represents an extraordinary portrait of a ritual of womanhood.

“I was surprised by how much of it is a form of waiting and anticipation… I wanted to offer a bit more nuance on what giving birth looks like” Scheynius said.

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Luo Yang: GIRLS

Luo Yang’s GIRLS is the result of a decade spent attempting to capture what it’s like being a woman in China. “Women are both soft and strong, a combination of vulnerability and toughness,” she said. “Their complexity has always inspired me, and through photography I always tried to understand them – today, I feel I’ve worked out most of the problems and confusions as a teenage girl which drove me to start this series.”

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