The photographer and the Subject

(Ok, really been putting this off but for no apparent reason. Apologies, The Management)

Photography is like my number 2 love, (this being after my first love of museum trips) so I think it’s no surprise that I seem to buy many magazines just for the covers, few pages of editorial or even for a specific editorial shot by a “famous” (hate this word) well-known photographer. So it was no surprise when, after my interview-type, quick-question meeting at a publication, I strolled around the corner to a little magazine store, which i love (great people, and chat), that my gaze was fixated upon February Issue of Australian Vogue.

I’m not sure what it was about this specific cover out of all the other publications, perhaps it was the clarity of the covering photo, the lack of text and a model’s questioning gaze. The cover depicts a beautifully warm, side sun lit Marloes Horst with background that melts away.

The editorial, “A Place in the Sun” shot by Nicole Bentley (part of a two-part story) is absolutely stunning. I don’t think I can remember when i saw such an elegantly shot editorial that puts across both the story and the clothes. This got me thinking, do women photographers make better editorial photographs than they’re male counter parts?

I’ve read some where that women make better photographers because they rather go out and just shoot rather than mess about with all the extra stuff. I don’t agree with such a bogus statement but from (re-)reading John Berger’s Ways of Seeing for my dissertation I do believe that women photographers hold a certain advantage over us, male photographers, when it comes to portraying women through photographs.

It’s just a thought, but when i see a lot of women displayed in editorials shot by men there’s always this suggestion of sexuality, maybe sexual dominance of the viewer, objectification of the female form, that I’m sure I’m not alone in saying that I’m a little tired of seeing.

Not to say that all male photographers mean to do this or have this view when they take the photograph, yet I guess the subjective nature of photography leaves a lot of things open to other interpretations. I believe it’s that whole idea of stepping into the mind of a woman sorta thing. Berger suggests that a woman sees herself in two ways, the way see appears to men and the way she appears to other women.

Maybe I just found it refreshing to see Nicole Bentley’s editorial, that maybe put herself in the place of the model and saw how she would like to project the image of the models throughout the editorial. It was most probably that there was no nudity and that there was a greater emphises on clothes and pieces from the upcoming spring collections.


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