For this project, I have researched female self-portraits from the Renaissance to contemporary times and refashioned them using myself as a model and photographer. I have been interested in particular in how the women artists navigated the “double bind” of trying to show both their mastery of technique while appearing “feminine” enough to be accepted by society; in other words,  they were stretching social conventions by painting or photographing their self-portraits but showing that they were bound to them at the same time. Fundamental parts of this “performance” of gender (to cite the terminology of Gender Studies) is the women’s appearance, attire, setting, and pose. In my stills, inspired by some of the key female self-portraitists over the last six hundred years; such as Lavinia Fontana, Sofonisba Anguisola, Cindy Sherman, Judith Leyster, Anna Bilinska, Maria Cosway, and many more.  I have concentrated in particular on the artists’ poses, a crucial component to conveying their attitude and their persona to the public. From demure to studious to irreverent, they also show the evolution of the growing freedom and confidence of women in general and women artists in particular. It was interesting studying and later performing the poses and seeing the subtle changes between centuries and how these poses affected my attitude or confidence. The final still in this collection is a highly edited photograph of my face and this is a critical commentary of today’s society and how women today choose to present themselves online to the world.
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