A Woman, Thinking

On (Not) Being a MILF

Life as a PhotographerPoppy LochridgeComment

I've been struggling all summer with what it means to be both a photographer and a feminist, where the two intersect, and how I can use one to educate and inform the other and vice versa. Lately, I was directed to this blog (NSFW!!!) to do some reading along similar lines.

My personal opinion: the focus of my art is not to turn me into in a sex object. I fully understand that for some people I am just that, just because of the mere fact that I'm naked in an image. But still, that's the viewers interpretation, and I have no control over that. It's just not my objective when creating an image or embarking on a photographic project. As far as the term "M*LF" is concerned, and more particularly, being type cast for a "M*LF glamour shoot", we now move the purpose of the image to solely that: creating an image with the purpose of becoming sexually desired by the viewer. I find that very offensive to be put in that position as a model who does not pursue adult work. Especially after I clearly stated my objective to them: creating fine art images. Needless to say: I'm not filling out the application. From Women of Avalon

Wow. So that's what they mean by a "girl crush." *grin* Well spoken and thoughtful, and it expresses my own thoughts almost eerily.

There are days when I wish I knew more feminist photographers and models so we could discuss these things. Sadly, I know all of five other female photographers, and to my knowledge, none of them are as explicitly feminist as I am. And the men, less so.

I digress. Hauling the train of thought back to the station.....

I'm really not interested in photographing nude women just for the sake of them being undressed. By which, I mean, that I have no interest, no intention, of creating images whose sole purpose is to objectify the model, depersonize her, make it less about the photographer and the model, and more about the desires of the photo's viewer. I have no objection to fine art nudes or boudoir pictures, where the intent is to make the model feel sexy and desirable.

I'm slowly moving in the direction of wanting to know something about my models, wanting to talk with them about what they want to see in themselves. And then try to bring that out. I want it to be a process that we both participate in, not one where I as the photographer requests a pose and the model merely gives it or the model directs her own poses completely apart from what I'd like to shoot. I think this is moving towards being respectful and aware. I want it to be about what *I* want and about what the model wants, not about what some nameless, faceless patriarchy says is attractive.