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The Body Fe:Male

Dissertation Practice - Evaluation
The Fe:Male Body
Capturing a body on camera solidifies identity in one framed picture. The way an individual relates to the camera can tell you a lot about who they are in that moment. Art and photography is often referred to as having a specific mood. How does the viewer feel an emotional response and gain understanding of identity from a single frame?
Semantics are created through the composition of an image; an unconscious language that everybody speaks. It’s our unconscious that decodes visual cues and triggers a response. A slight raised eyebrow, a look away from the camera or staring deeply through the lens all effect the connotation of the image.
We consciously chose fashion to fit, add to or highlight our identity. We make conscious decisions to influence others. Not only do they affect our physical self but they also effect the hyperphysical self; our inner being, to channel certain emotions into a particular physicality and even create an alter ego. Are we all defined by one label? Society would have us believe that something is or it is not and nothing in between. If you are a girl you are female, if you are a boy you are male. A large part of what we define as male and female addresses aspects other than the physical body. Certain mannerisms are considered either feminine or masculine, but if this was truly the case,why can so freely drift between the boundaries?
‘The Fe:Male Body’ explores the relationship between fashion, gender and power via the medium of photography to enable the resulting imagery to be analysed. A nude model represents ‘female’ with further pictures exploring the effects aspects of the male aesthetic have on feminine empowerment. Nudity is the control variable, it removes any likelihood of male aesthetic influence and allow raw emotions; reflecting the nature of femininity, to be easily translated and captured as ‘evidence’. The resultant imagery and its accompanying commentary from the model’s perspective provide an insight into the effects on her physical and hyperphysical being. These effects are translated and interpreted into assumptions about the identity of the model by the viewer.
There are differing connotations of power assigned to each gender. Female status is often connected to her body, through the instinctive connotations of the female form that have long been associated with occupations that exploit this power. Visa versa; the male form often facilitates status through strength and dominance associated with male dominated industries
that exploit their attributes. Through the sequence of images there is a crossover of power symbols that is likened to the advancement of women in business. She so easily combines the two in a seamless performance that is perceived difficult for males to replicate.
Observing movements and expressions of the model as she posed provided insight into emotions, mannerisms or subconscious language are connected to particular items of clothing. Even a sleek jumpsuit modeled on a traditional tuxedo still provoked mannerisms that indicated power, superiority and a nonchalant attitude as opposed to the nude frames that were more poised. The combination of male and female combined in one frame of femininity that reformed the connotations of masculinity and exudes a powerful hybrid being that adapts and manipulates the symbolic nature of gender through femininity and fashion.


Kate Sutton

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