Thursday, December 20, 2007

"there's this new subjectivity"

i've noticed that a lot of the portraits i have been posting up here are by lady photographers. i do not doubt that this is a mix of personal aesthetic preferences and also availability. statistically, women are not overrepresented in the world of professional photography. but are they more likely to focus on portraiture?

while searching for an image by a specific photographer, i came across an interesting article from the New York Times Magazine on 9/9/01. it was a Deborah Solomon-penned introduction to a "very special issue" of the Times Magazine in which ::gasp:: all the photographs were taken by women. okay, i have a knee-jerk cynicism about such a project. a cynicism which is not dampened by prose like this, from Solomon: "Susan Sontag insists, 'There is an aggression implicit in every use of the camera,' but perhaps her dictum should be looked at again in a softer light. Every photograph is an act of seduction. In some ways, photography has been the most womanly of art forms all along." the italics are mine, because this writing is such very gross, sexist and non-rigorous fluff.

still, there are interesting questions here. later in the article, photographer Malerie Marder poses some of them in her own way:

"'Women photographers,' she noted, 'are more interested in fantasy than men. There's this new subjectivity. Larry Fink, one of my professors at Bard, used to say, 'I am what I behold.' You never hear women talking that way. We never say we went out and captured it, like a god taking his moments out of life.'"


(self-portrait of Nan Goldin found on Modern Art Obsession)

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