This past December, I had the opportunity to collaborate with my lovely friend Rosemary on a project for school! We met last winter, and shot together in the freezing cold together in March for her previous project, which you can find HERE. We had such a great time working together, and the images turned out so beautifully, that I was absolutely thrilled to be working with her again. Rosemary’s concept was that she wanted to shoot 18th century style portraits of women, doing “unladylike” things. As you all know, I love dressing up, and I love destroying the patriarchy (especially through art), so you can imagine how absolutely excited I was when Rosemary asked if I’d like to be a part of the project.
I loved the idea of juxtaposition that Rosemary wanted at the centre of her images. I really love 18th century paintings, and I felt that it was the perfect backdrop to make a commentary on how limited women were (and still are) in that time. Beautiful images, paired with something that doesn’t belong in a portrait of a beautiful, or “ideal” woman. By adding modern elements, it really brought Rosemary’s intentions into focus.
As always, Rosemary was fabulously organized. I got to the Ryerson Image Arts building, where I found Rose and her partner in crime Kelsey tucked away in the corner of a studio buzzing with creative students and cameras and lights and set pieces. I had my hair ready at home, so I got into wardrobe, and then decided to go with a bare face (other than mascara). Rose made me feel comfortable, and we got right back into the swing of things as though I had just seen her the day before. She is always open for ideas, and is a great partner in collaboration. Some of the ideas in these images are mine, but mostly Rose knew exactly what she needed, so we just had fun with it.
Have a look at these super cool images from the final product.
It was really amazing to be wearing that dress. All of my history/costume nerd dreams come true. But I will have you know that it was heavy as hell and gave me gym-burn for three days after.
One of the reasons I love shoots like this is because not only do I get to wear something absolutely gorgeous that makes me feel super feminine (seriously, you should try it sometime), I get to subvert that same confined/repressed/oppressed image at the same time. And I really feel as though that’s a true reflection of myself. I love being a girl. And I will not stand for any of your misogynist/racist/homophobic/transphobic bullsh*t. It’s what I want to be. The girl in that last picture. Bold. Unapologetic. I want to be the girl doing my own girl thing, while simultaneously flipping off whoever tells me or any other girls that they can’t. Because we can. We have. And we will. We have come so far. But we have so much farther to go. I’m learning to unlearn, and wield my privilege as a weapon of righteous destruction, because if you’ve got the privilege, you have the responsibility. And I’ll be here, making art… the whole way.