Exploitation, Appropriation and Self-Objectification (of the male figure) on the Internet. #AllPhotosUsedWithoutPermission
Exploitation, Appropriation and Self-Objectification
(of the male form)
On the Internet
When Covid lockdown started in March of 2020 I didn’t imagine it would lead to a new body of work.
As summer arrived there was talk of exploitation and objectification in the air. I’m interested in how people present themselves in photographs and noticed how many images posted by men on social media objectify the subject. But a good number of these images were selfies or clearly directed, then posted, by the subject and not the product of formal photo sessions. I started to take screenshots of these images and save them on my phone, all the while realizing that I was relying on my phone and tablet more than ever to stay in touch with the world.
As lockdown continued into the fall, I started to experiment with re-photographing the images I’d collected. I decided to acknowledge the digital nature of the appropriated material by inserting my tablet into a still life setting, first shooting the scenes with wet-plate, then later on 4x5 or 8x10 film, printing with cyanotype. Using these analogue techniques places images from the digital world firmly in the physical one.
I began to wonder if the new rules regarding exploitation and objectification extended to selfies. If I appropriate a selfie that objectifies the subject, who is the objectifier, who the exploiter? The person who creates the image, the one who appropriates it, or both?
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