After my little “off-road adventure” on the previous week (Flickr Market Research), I decided last week that it was time for me to get back on the highway; but as I was putting the series together, it started to develop a story of its own.
Let me explain.
It all started with Monday’s effort. The exasperation on the face of the young woman emerging out of the darkness is the most obvious feature of this shot; but the body language, particularly in her right had, suggested to me that this woman is not going to just accept whatever is exasperating her. There seemed to be a strength and determination here that symbolised, for me, the modern woman, emerging out of the darkness of a male dominated world, to assert her right to be heard and heeded. That made me look at the other photographs I had taken, influenced my selection of shots for uploading and the squence of posting, and formed the basis for the essay you are now reading.
Tuesday’s effort is my attempt to portray a stereotypical of image of woman, as created by the advertising industry: head bowed, eyes down, wind toying with her hair, caressed by the light; beautiful but submissive. Danny St. summed it up when he commented: “…i’m loving the flow of her hair and the beautiful light!” My point is that advertising deals in images which it creates for its own commercial purposes; not in real people, individuals, cognitive human beings.
Wednesday’s shot illustrates another stereotype: “The Damsel in Distress”. Only, if you look closely at the picture, this damsel not waiting for a knight in shining armour to rescue her. The finger on her chin suggests to me that she is working it out for herself. This image suggests to me that we are looking at an independent woman; capable, and quietly confident in this situation.
Thursday’s image takes the story further. Here we have a couple where the woman, at least in this moment, is taking the lead. Arndsan commented: “men are very easy to please” and Fabuchan observed: “… he’s tamed!:-)”. This is a very different image of woman from the Tuesday shot. And if men really are that easy to please, doesn’t this empower women?
Then on Friday, another couple, but this time the woman is looking at what she wants to look at. By her appearance, she is strong, confident and centred. Is this how the modern woman wishes to be portrayed? If so, I am happy to oblige. Houry said: “Gorgeous lighting and composition!! a story could be told with this capture!!”; lagunamoon added: “is very cool~~~~”; and in mariekejoan‘s words, this shot was: “Just GREAT!!!” whilst minih89 thought it was: “nice”. Four women judging a male portrayal of a woman.
And so to my sign-off shot on Saturday. I was making my way to the bus stop to return home at the end of the shoot ( the same bus stop I was standing at when I shot “A time to reflect“) when I saw this image and felt compelled to capture it. Here we return to the starting point: the image of a woman emerging from the darkness towards the light; only this time she is in colour: head raised, calm and contemplative. Okay, maybe she’s thinking, “I wish that creep would stop pointing his camera at me. Whatever you do, don’t make eye contact“; but I have no desire to offend or demean or devalue anyone. I take what I see and what has meaning for me. I mean no disrespect.
This started as a collection of images to post on Flickr; but it turned into an exploration and I have compiled this essay because I believe that the ensemble of the images is greater than the sum of the parts; that they need to be viewed together so that one can contemplate the overall narrative. I would really love to have your feedback on this.
Thank you to everyone who commented, faved, invited and contacted me last week. Here is a link to my Photostream if you want to see who said what. And I want to especially mention three people who wrote about my photographs in a way that I would never, even for a split second, have expected to see in print. Marcojmg commented on Monday’s effort in French which I had to read several times to convince myself that I had understood; beautiful words (which seemed even more beautiful because they were in French!) which still take my breath away. On Thursday, Melicia Lima sent me an email, also in French (what is it with French?) where she described my photos as “poetry”; and to my astonishment on Friday, Devendra Pal dedicated this photograph to me. Of course, I was thrilled to receive these words of encouragement; but I was also humbled by them. I know that there are many great photographers exhibiting on Flickr; far greater now than I can every hope to be. There are links to some of them on the side menu of this website under Flickr Favourites and I’ve had to stop adding to that because the list was becoming too long (refer to my contacts on Flickr as an alternative means of finding them).