I recently photographed models Shaikra and Isi for a new style blog they're launching in the coming months. Isi styled the entire shoot which was shot on location in Crystal Palace Park, London.
Photography and feminism are often issues of contention for me both as a feminist and as a photographer. As a photographer, a lot of what I learned in university and on the job conforms to Western ideals of beauty. I was taught different perpectives to shoot from according to the gender being represented (go high for a woman and go low for a man); different lighting to use to highlight different attributes; I learned that women's skin should be airbrushed and often lightened, their bodies should be liquified (made thinner) and that their body hair and fat folds should be removed entirely. And that's just the tip of the iceburg. For many years I also thought that female models should be passive; posed in such a way that they often appear lifeless. The dead female body is a fetishised body in photography. Misogynistic image making is a money maker - just look at the work of photographers such as Guy Bourdin, Mart Alas & Marcus Piggott, Terry Richardson and brands such as Jimmy Choo, Dolce & Gabbana, Calvin Klein, Loula, Duncan Quinn, Sisley, American Apparel, Tom Ford, Marc Jacobs and many, many more.
So, when I had an opportunity to work on some fashion images I decided to learn from my own mistakes and to try and create work that didn't conform to violent standards of beauty. I also took this approach when working on the images in post production. Trying to be more experimental, I used the return of 70s style fashion as an excuse to add light leaks and oversaturated colours when editing. I probably went overboard (I usually do when it comes to post production) but nevertheless it's always good to try some something new and to challenge yourself.