Self Images PDF
by Andre Rival
Andre Rival, at home in both Paris and Berlin, has created a fascinating project out of a relatively simple idea: 100 women taking photographs of themselves. The outcome is both startling and impressive. It is an expression of contemporary female identity - self-aware, distinctive and thoroughly positive, in a series of nude photographs that inexorably capture and hold our attention, revealing at the same time the artist's highly creative approach to the medium of photography and to the individual selves of the women portrayed. The author describes his project in this way: "We are inundated with pictures of women in the media. Ordinarily, the pictures we see seek to achieve a kind of 'sameness' based on unwritten ideals of beauty; physical perfection, total fitness become the determining factors. These images of women, provoked as they are by the media industry, awakened in me the urge to confront both that industry and myself with something else. I chose to set aside my own ways of thinking and do a series of 100 women in which it was not I who would put together the photographs, but the women themselves. For this purpose, I gave them each a shutter-switch and left the room. That represented the beginning of the attempt to enable the women to become photographic subjects rather than objects; they were left to decide on their own which personal image of themselves they wanted to convey. The conditions were the same for all of the women: the same lighting, the same white background and the same unchanged camera position. It was essential to fix the location of the camera, so that the women did not perceive themselves as being pursued by an 'observer'; instead, they were able to establish distance and camera angle themselves with the aid of a video screen that showed them each camera exposure as a still photo."
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