PHOTOGRAPHS OF THE FEMININE IDEAL
The elusive female figure is a recurring motif within Western visual culture. Often enigmatic, she is commonly represented in terms of idealised forms of sexuality, beauty and femininity. Her appearance is largely constructed by and for the male gaze, obscuring the underlying structures of oppression which determine dominant gender ideas. The performance of femininity appears in masses of contemporary visual material, and is ubiquitous within advertising campaigns. Scopophilia sells, but how genuine is its subject?
Inspired by the works of Floris Neusüss and Anna Atkins, this series combines features from both artists to encourage a dialogue about photographic realism, gender and social structure. Cyanotypes of contemporary, Western advertisements document and interrogate the phantasmagoric female conveyed through visual culture, and perpetuated as an ideal through mainstream media.
Hattie Collins's art book 'Photographs of the Feminine Ideal:Cyanotype Impressions' was acquired by the National Art Library at the V&A in January 2019. The book is available to view on request by clicking here.