Through photography I investigate foundations of gender expression. Raised in the Midwest I witnessed predominantly gender-normative roles, a construct ultimately defined by anatomy. I am interested in how normative values shape maturation and impact an individual’s gender performance and perception in adulthood. The photographs in The Rug’s Topography employ themes of tension, voyeurism and transition, to represent interpretation of the self. My work contributes to a current cultural dialogue that challenges preconceived notions regarding traditional gender ideals both self-imposed and societally prescribed.
I construct images that balance between organic intimacy and cinematic theatricality by implementing symbolism, color theory, and seductive lighting to evoke tension. Utilizing a directorial approach and a single subject allowed me to create an environment that transforms viewer into voyeur. The singular vantage point and lack of reciprocal gaze leads one to silently observe an unfolding narrative. However, the personal account is never fully described and the viewer must bring their own history, biases, and prejudices to the imagery. Transition within this work, while immersed in the context of gender, also relies upon time. Though the viewer is privy to feminine interventions placed upon the male figure, the passage of time is evidenced by subtle physical changes in the subject. Rigid musculature and posture is soon overcome by delicate and poetic gestures; the manicuring of body hair also becomes a form of sublimation. The ambient photographs, which act as signifiers of fleeting moments, mark points of personal evolution. Emphasis is placed on the threshold between public and private, as well as the implied or literal mirror embodying introspection. The combination of these elements aids in describing both a literal and a psychological space. Life is comprised of moments balancing between these realms and my intention is to render that dichotomy.