Showcasing almost 100 photographers, and over 200 images, YOUR BODY BELONGS TO YOU brings together women and non-binary photographers from around the world in a selected exhibition and we are really pleased to be hosting an online symposium with some of the exhibiting artists to explore the theme further.
Your Body Belongs to You is co-curated by Karen Harvey (Shutter Hub Creative Director) and Marisol Mendez (Shutter Hub member and photographer of MADRE), and hosted by Joséphine Leroux at Les Alizes. The exhibition runs for six months from 18 April – 18 September 2022, outdoors in the centre of St Gilles Croix de Vie, an area that attracts thousands of visitors day and night throughout the seasons.
We are hosting this symposium online to make it as accessible as possible. We want to be able to share some of the stories of the exhibited work, and create connections between photographers and new audiences.
Join us online on Thursday 19 May 2022, from 2-5.30pm UK time, for photographers talks, panel discussion and a Q&A session hosted by Shutter Hub, and open to all.
Register to attend the event here.
TW: The descriptions below include reference to suicide, neglect and psychological abuse.
We’re all bodies; bodies that grow, bodies that change, bodies that age. It is through our bodies that we experience pleasure, pain, hate, love, and all the array of sensations that make up life.
Throughout history, however, feminine bodies in particular have been treated like objects to be displayed. Their bodies censored, enhanced, fetishised, desired, judged. They seem to be there to feed a capricious appetite, not to have one of their own.
The theme is broadly construed without any photographic genre restrictions as we are interested in all possible creative photographic interpretations of the theme.
Photography has a long history of reinforcing problematic or false narratives. It’s still a field where we have to raise questions about dynamics of power and the gaze. But photography can also be a tool of empowerment. That’s the driving force behind our theme ‘Your Body Belongs to You’. Photography as a way to reclaim our bodies, share more nuanced stories about the feminine experience and challenge the status quo.
Marisol Mendez: MADRE
When Marisol imagined her future as a photographer, she envisioned a luminous and well-equipped studio with a resourceful experienced creative team helping her elevate and bring her ideas to life. She dreamt about the outfits she’d wear to gallery openings and was most excited about seeing, touching, and smelling the printed images. The reality is not only less glamourous but also far removed from the idea of success we often associate with the life of an ‘artist’.
But all that doesn´t really matter. If you make images for the sake of a publicized lifestyle you’ll probably end up with empty work, fleeting in nature and not very filling. If you instead dedicate yourself to a project you believe in enough so as not to give up when things get difficult, you’ll realise that true satisfaction lies in the process. The process of creating, of birthing an idea, the process of sharing it and witnessing its transformation.
In this talk Marisol will uncover the secrets of the ‘behind the scenes’ of her project MADRE. She will share her experience as a published photographer and resilient human being to provide inspiration and practical advice to help practitioners find creative ways to bring their vision to life.
Zula Rabikowska: Becoming Herstory
In her talk, Zula will be discussing her documentary project Becoming Herstory. This series of self-portraits is a photographic meditation on the idea of belonging, migration, and family. Through diverse clothing and makeup, she transforms herself into different women in her family, and brings to light the war-torn complexity of Eastern Europe.
She wears clothes that her mum has been bring over from Poland to the UK over the last 20 years. Many of the items are products of separate migration journeys, smuggled across borders during the Communist regime in Eastern Europe. The photos are inspired by conversations with her mum, where she stressed the importance of these items in helping her feel physically and emotionally connected to Poland. Through this process of becoming different women in her family, Zula reconnects with a part of her identity she spent time suppressing as an immigrant in the UK while she tried to assimilate into British society. This method also helped her imagine who she might have been had her family not migrated from Poland to the UK.
Lydia Panas: Sleeping Beauty
Making photographs and videos in the fields of her family farm in Pennsylvania evokes complicated memories from Lydia’s unconscious, as she reconfigures her personal history through the camera. Working with women and girls as they navigate the land, she is reminded of the memories our bodies hold on to and the entanglements we must let go of.
Lydia approaches her work through the perspective of psychoanalysis, paying attention to unconscious or repressed histories, and how this can bring about transformation. Acknowledging the complicated relationship between artist and subject, she pays attention to the roles of power and trust on both sides of the camera, as she considers what she longed for as a child, what she was afraid of, and the transformation from girl to woman.
The images act as self-portraits. The figures, a physical embodiment of our entanglement with our past, collectively, and individually. Emerging from the landscape, we look at one another as we drop our facades, and for a few moments, understand each other perfectly.
It’s important to look under the hood – for everyone, not just women – to understand our motivations. You wonder why some people do so much damage to others and to themselves? Lydia explores the feelings of discomfort between moving towards autonomy or staying stationary. The subjects look back with knowing and rebellion in their eyes. Ultimately, it’s about liberation, personal and societal.
Ellie Laycock: Remnants of a Suicide
Ellie Laycock will present her mixed media series ‘Remnants of A Suicide’, which explores the sudden and deliberate death of a loved one and the ensuing period of grief and bewilderment whilst adjusting to the new absence of that person/body. Suddenly, what is left behind; photographs, mementos, texts, traces, take on a new importance. Made over several years, the project, developed hand in hand with the progression through the experience of grief, eventually becomes part memory box, part reliquary, part casket.
Inside, a set of photographic prints are wrapped in printed raw edged silk that recall the Tibetan prayer flags that over time release their loose threads on the wind to spread goodwill and compassion over all the land. They depict the last message, the last night, a possible sign, a trace of a smile. They nestle with a glass lachrymatory (a vessel used to capture the first tears of mourning which dates back to ancient Greece) and are wrapped in an intricately woven necklace made from gold and the blonde hair of the deceased. These relics are from the British Victorian tradition that revered remnants of the body as a means of remembrance and closeness to those that have disappeared from our lives. In times like that, we all need something to hold onto.
Sandy Miles: Sheep’s Parsley
Sandy’s project from 2020, titled Sheep’s Parsley, was a creative expression of the neglect and psychological abuse she experienced at the hands of her mother. The project not only challenges our perception of the bond between a mother and her child, but it was also a cathartic journey in which she explored the perception she had of herself as a woman.
The brief for ‘Your Body Belongs to You’ tells us that photography has a long history of reinforcing false narratives about woman, however, she’d argue that these narratives began long before images were captured on film emulsion. Imagery of the mother and child have been ingrained into our visual culture for centuries. Imagery, she’d argue, that firmly originates from the male gaze. The female body is judged as an object to be admired, so is it any wonder that our visual likeness has been manipulated to appease, not only the male gaze, but in more recent years with the explosion of the ‘selfie’ and digital filters, how we want to see ourselves.
For ‘Sheep’s Parsley’, Sandy used self-portraiture as a visual expression of emotion and memory; with multiple exposures, silhouettes and compositions that deliberately aimed to obscure her own likeness. Like so many women, she really dislikes what she sees in photographs of herself; when we look in a mirror, we see the elements we want to see, but a photograph confronts us with a whole, and with it the realisation of how other people might see us.
Photography can indeed be used as a tool of empowerment, and Sandy welcomes the opportunity to be part of a discussion on what part she can play.
The selected photographers exhibiting in ‘Your Body Belongs to You’ are:Alice Castiglione, Anastasia Evdokimova, Anne Kalliola, Anneleen Lindsay, Adriana G Torres, Amanda Eatwell, Anna Laura Festa, Brittany Severance, Carli Adby-Notley, Chris Byrnes, Clair Robins, Claire French, Clare Thomas, Caroline Fraser, Charlotte Roger, Clare Park, Deb Leal, Dee Lister, Dayana Sharon Marconi, Diana Serban, Ekaterina Denisova, Elizabeth Brown, Elizabeth Woodger, Ellie Laycock, Eva Marschan-Hayes, Ella McManus, Emily Cannell, Ezgi Guler, Gemma Taylor, HeardinLondon, Heshani Sothiraj Eddleston, Hanne Castein, Irina Gryaznova, Jacqueline Ennis Cole, Jasmine de Silva, Jasmin Murray, Jaime Aelavanthara, Janet Lees, Jayne Lloyd, Jessica Burko, Jo Stapleton, Jocelyn Allen, Karen Harvey, Kathleen Bishop, Kathryn McGeary, Kerry Curl, Kerstin Niemoeller, Kimberly Poppe, Kirra Kimbrell, Lorna Campbell, Lydia Panas, Madeleine Waller, Marianne van Loo, Megan Bent, Mara Magyarosi-Laytner, Marina Anotoniou, Marisol Mendez, Molly Caenwyn, Naomi James, Nicola Gunwhy, Nuala Mahon, Nikki Goldup, Nina Maria Allmoslechner, Paloma Tendero, Parvathi Kumar, Phillipa Bloom, Rachel Nixon, Rachel Rimell, Radegonda Brode, Rosita McKenzie, Sandy Miles, Sara Hannant, Silvia Gentili, Susana de Dios, Sarah Callow, Sarah Ketelaars, Sonia Levesque, Sophie Ellen, Susan Bittker, Tiina Burton,Tanya McGeever, Tineke Montague, Tracey Sharpe, Vin Sharma, Zara Carpenter, Z White, Zula Rabikowska.
YOUR BODY BELONGS TO YOU
Les Alizes (outside)
Boulevard de l’Égalité
Saint Gilles Croix de Vie
18 April – 18 September 2022
Exhibition open 24/7
Exhibition curated by: Karen Harvey and Marisol Mendez
Exhibition designed by: Tim Jukes
Got any questions? Email us at email@example.com
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