One For Me, Two For You
The act of taking a photograph has an inherent imbalance of power. The photographer looks at the subject through their gaze, choosing a moment they believe necessary to be captured by the lens. The subject stands before them, the way they’re being seen unknown to them, however they remain acutely aware of being perceived.
Historically photography has been dominated by men, their gaze being the one shown when viewing images of the subject, of women. I wanted to explore portraiture in a way that challenged this inherent power and gaze that trad-itional portrait photography holds. In a collaboration with eleven women, we created a Photobook filled with their portraits titled ‘One for me, Two for you’.
By giving each woman hold of the shutter release attached to my camera, and stepping away from the view-finder, I wanted to create a shift in power. I was present to provide the tools necessary for the photograph, and maybe some encouragement but not much else. They placed themselves in front of the camera, in a setting they chose, and captured the image when they wanted to. We conversed about our experiences, about our struggles with our bodies and the way that we are perceived. The book was treated like a diary by each person, their handwriting on the pages telling the story of their portrait. I wanted to give them autonomy not only as subjects, but as women. Having autonomy over the narration of your story is empowering, and something that I believe to be important to consider when you step behind the camera as a photographer.