The Power of the Photograph

19 Apr

Last week (13/4/11) we had the opportunity to attend a seminar by the charity Stonewall about sexual orientation. I found their main message was not primarily about who people are sexually attracted to, it was that love comes in many forms and children need to be familiarised with families in all forms in order to accept  and appreciate differences.

Photography, as a tool, has always been used to expose people to different ideas, cultures and experiences etc. Many photographers have used this medium to address and even challenge, for example, gender identity thus introducing audiences to humanity in its plethora of variety and fostering appreciation and acceptance.

The artist I always think of who challenges gender identity is Andy Warhol who created a series of pictures of himself dressed as a woman.

'Self-Portrait in Drag'- Andy Warhol (1981-82)

Though such challenge of gender identity is not limited to the art world. The music industry saw David Bowie‘s Ziggy Stardust in performances, motion pictures and stills in the early 1970s. For me, Ziggy Stardust represents an amalgamation of both male and female principles creating an almost ethereal and supernatural being. Or the divine androgyne.

In the workshop following the seminar we were asked to think about an aspect of our own identity and represent this through a photograph. We all ended up producing mind maps with aspects we feel to be much related to our own identity. But I always find this process a little strange because there is who and all you are inside to you and then there is how other people see you. How many identities does a person really have?

A Brief Map of Lauras Mind/Matrix/Labyrinth

I posted my mind-map on my blog even though I didn’t want to share it with anyone. That’s the thing- it’s easier sharing when I don’t have to see someone’s reaction. That’s what I focused on when taking my photography to represent an aspect my identity. It shows confidence as I am looking right and the camera but an insecure aspect as I am deliberately hiding. This is representative of  an inner confidence I have always had within myself and with who I am but my lack of confidence when it comes to opening up and sharing with others. I tend to make strong personal bonds with people before I open up because I am frightened at sharing myself completely as a hangover from years of arduous bullying- I fear what people might say about me, who I really am, until I trust them. But old wounds are slowly healing as I meet lots of new and wonderful people. 🙂

The Partial Hider

I feel great, with reference to last weeks reflection, that I have produced an image with a specific purpose and been able to consciously communicate an aspect of who I am to the blogosphere. This could be the start of a beautiful journey and I hope to use photography to help children better communicate themselves to the world.


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