Welcome to the Spring term. Here we are again, still hanging on and not in lockdown! As always I am writing a new post to bring in the new term. I have recently been looking at contemporary women photographers and I thought I would share one with you that I found to be striking.
Haley Morris-Cafiero is an American photographer and I was drawn to her work as it is both self-portrait and performance. In Wait Watchers (2011-15) Morris Cafiero takes portraits of herself on the street but it is the reactions to her that they portray. In Cops (2011) policeman take the mickey out of her in the street, amazing this seems to be acceptable and below in Sunscreen (2015) a woman laughs at her with no shame.
Cops (2011) New York By Haley Morris- Cafiero
Sunscreen (2015) Cocoa Beach, Florida By Haley Morris-Cafiero
Rogers and Houghton write; 'Cafiero manages to capture the palatable disdain f for her body is at once shocking and depressing but the photography empowers herself, cleverly turning the negative gaze back onto the viewer and in doing so, makes a spectacle of the audience itself' (Rogers & Houghton, 2017:43) Gaze and Reflection are a reoccurring theme in Cafiero's work, she states about her work; 'I consider my photographs a social experiment and I reverse the gaze back on to the stranger and place the viewer in the position of being a witness to a moment in time. The project is a performative form of street photography. I place the camera on a tripod and take hundreds of photographs' (Morris-Cafiero 2021)
In The Bully-Pit Cafiero takes on Cyberbullying as she had suffered this intensely herself. Here Cafiero investigated the social profiles of the bullies and she states: 'I photograph myself costumed like the people who’ve attempted to bully me. Finding photos online, I recreated their images using wigs, clothing, and simple prosthetics, while small imperfections mirror the fallacy that the internet will shield their identities. Finally, I overlay the parodies with transcripts of the bullying comments, almost as if I were “subtweeting” them.' (Morris-Cafiero 2021). In the image below the artist has parodied the social profile of the bully and placed their words on her t-shirt. The image here feels almost classical in composition and the use of the colours and lighting. The artist looks upward, as in a classical painted portrait. The post-modern knowing comes from the bare light bulb, terrible rug, and leather armchair, This is a clever use of classical composition and postmodern performance photography.
From The Bully-Pit (2019) By Haley Morris-Cafiero
Rogers F. & Houghton M. (2017) Firecrackers: Female Photographers Now, Thames & Hudson. London
Haley Morris-Cafiero (2021) Artist Website [Online] Available from: http://www.haleymorriscafiero.com/ (Accessed 09/01/2022)
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