Artist Statement for the Goddesses series:
This series entitled “Goddesses” features images of young women, photographed to evoke the flat feeling of an iconographic painting. The blood red halo around their heads symbolizes my interpretation of the “anti-goddess.” In art history the “icon” has often been used as an artist’s representation of flawlessness and sanctity. But, here the subjects are diverse young models, identically dressed and posed to emphasize physical distinctions and juxtapose the conventional concept of “beauty” with the reality that beauty comes in many forms. In an attempt to render my subjects as realistic as possible, they are unfettered by skin and body retouching, professional makeup, or airbrushing.
In a static medium such as photography it is difficult to avoid placing flawless models on a pedestal. The Goddesses series is an ongoing attempt to represent diversity, individuality, independence, spirit, and that which drives us away from manipulated perfection while promoting awareness of media representations of beauty.
The Goddesses series began as an experimentation with icons and symbolism in art and expanded into a project about the representation of beauty. Both commercial photography and fine art photography tend towards the representation of beauty being one of a graceful, thin, young, white woman. In the past, western culture’s definition of beauty was likely very different, yet still tended to fall into one rather strict definition of physical appearance. In creating this series of images, I want to become part of a dialogue in contemporary art that is exploring the value of seeking out alternate definitions of beauty and challenging the archetype that beauty is homogenous.
It is very important to me to make the images I want to make – not those that I think someone else will want to buy. However, working on this series has opened me up to a constant struggle of ideals. Some artists are critical of those who use Photoshop because it masks “true” representations, but others are critical of those who don’t use Photoshop because contemporary fine art photography is not typically thought of as a literal representation of a person or thing, but rather a creative representation. I am attempting to create a balance of these two philosophies, while keeping in mind the notion that perpetuating awareness of Photoshop and how it is used to manipulate art can be helpful for developing a more literate approach to analyzing our personal connections to contemporary art.