Building bridges: exploring gender through photographic practice
thesisposted on 2021-05-23, 18:51 authored by Jennifer O'Leary
This project is a visual expression of my observations about gender within western culture. My photographic practice is conducted within and mediated by significant beliefs about gender and, in turn, provides ideological support for how I relate to society. Acknowledging that I photograph from a female perspective I photographed both male and female subjects of different genders and races using a 35mm camera with a wideangle lens. I captured images that helped me reflect on my own practice as a photographer. My images can be viewed as individual photographs or as a set. Factors, such as my cultural background, social status, religious beliefs, and level of comfort with my own sexuality, influenced my photographic practice and so will inevitably affect how viewers respond to my images. How I feel about identity construction permeates through out my image making process. As a photographer in the Ryerson University and York University joint program of Communication and Culture exploring different theoretical frameworks undoubtedly affected my studio practice as I gained more knowledge and became more self-reflective. I accept as photographer that my images will not have a fixed meaning but I do intend them to evoke feelings. Since I discovered Henri Cartier-Bresson's work as a young teenager I have always had a profound respect for his abilities and his methodology. Although I would never begin to align my work with a master photographer with regards to quality I have always aspired to his greatness. Robert Frank and Eugene Richards also have inspired me during this Masters project. My more recent appreciation of their work reinforces my belief that there will always be a place for striking 'documentary' style photographs taken on film and printed on fiber based paper by the hand of one whom feels the call ofthe traditional darkroom.