Traditional Black and White Photography

Women

The work shown here is a selection from work currently on exhibition at Bunbury Regional Art Gallery, Bunbury, Western Australia from mid September till late November 2017. Early in the new year, following more printing, new images will be added

This is a personal collection of thoughts about my work with women from 1970 to now

I see my work with women as a celebration, an act of acknowledgement and joy. This places me as a Romantic photographer rather than the good old Modernist* I have always believed myself to be; I am not sure I am happy about this, but at this point near the end of my career it is time to face the obvious. However, I feel my more recent work has a greater level of objectivity, but not objectification, that is different

There was a lot of debate and accusation in the 1980s about the "male gaze" within feminist art theory. This, with other challenges, has resurfaced in 2010s with the rise of neo-prudery riding on Christo-Fascism and other reactionary influences. The argument was that the male gaze objectified women and was demeaning. Much work was demeaning, and to both genders. However, a lot of work, and I place my depictions in this category, were as already stated, acts of celebration and joy and respect

Why I believe the male gaze is a right thing is that we are visual animals, from seeing prey during hunting and identifying food when gathering and in finding a mate to procreate with So as visual creatures we see and seeing is how we live: try driving a car by sound and scent and see how long you live

Pubic hair, or the lack of, is a big issue for me. I like pubic hair on a number of levels

  1. The Goddess made women to be fluffy
  2. Pubic hair is a visual shield and enables me to photograph women without disclosing too much personal information
  3. Pubic hair denotes woman, while lack of hair connotes child. (I always get in trouble for this statement, but I stand by it)

* Marco Marcon, in his essay to Michael Iwanof's catalogue promotes the idea that much of Modernism is basically Romanticism with neat edges. Michael Iwanoff, 1993, pub Curtin University Visual Arts Research Unit

  • Women
Karri Forest Aerial Performance, 2005 - © John Austin Alana, Windy Harbour, 1994 - © John Austin Serena and Clay, Goblin Swamp, 1996 - © John Austin
Diving - © John Austin Skye, Goblin Swamp, 1997 - © John Austin Peta and Debbie, Megastump Gardner 08 State Forest, January 1999. The tree really was that big - © John Austin
Kat Campbell, Portrait, 2010 - © John Austin Cristelle, Portrait with Clay, 2011 - © John Austin
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