Beauty vs repulsion
My favourite subject at PSC (and one of the most challenging), is our folio class. This trimester, it is called 'Building Creativity in Photographic Practice'. A great name, and a really enjoyable subject. Our final assessment is not only on the images that we make, but the way we progress towards making them. This is an exciting process because it requires documenting and learning how we actually go about making new things.
For this subject, we shot for a theme of 'beauty and repulsion'. To get us thinking, our challenge was to create images that would inspire both a sense of beauty and a bodily 'ugh' reaction in our audience.
This was a great opportunity for me to explore ideas that have been important to me over the last few years: food production and gender.
I have often been critical of the mechanisation of our food production systems - not at the farm end, but at the retail end. Food retailers, led by the big supermarkets, are demanding more cosmetically 'beautiful' produce, and packaging it in a way that appears to increase value (however just replaces the natural packaging (skin/leaves) that fruits and vegetables come in).
Gender, particularly gender identity, has been a subject of interest to me for a number of years. Inspired originally by the question 'what does it mean to be a man?' I have expanded this ongoing thought in my mind to explore what it means to identify with any particular gender. And what boundaries exist for gender. I now see gender as more of a spectrum than the binary model we're presented with by society with the 'binaries' of male and female sitting at either end. Where do I fit? On the male side, but closer to the centre than many would think.
I should add, that I don't find anything about this image, or my portrait, repulsive. I include it as a challenge on the concept of gender.