Feminist Photography

Since the 1960’s, feminist art has become one of the most popular and influential ways of addressing the social concerns of feminism. Alike to many other forms of art, feminist photography has been used to spread the message of their cause, feminism, and to draw attention to the lack of gender equality in society. Feminist photography uses the female body as a weapon against socially constructed ideologies of gender, where previously it was used as an object for inviting and appealing men.

Notable Feminist Photographers:

Judy Chicago:  Judy Chicago is a famous writer, art-educator and feminist artist best known for her artwork. By the 1970’s, she had founded the first feminist art movement in the United States and coined the term “feminist art”. Her most well-known work is that of “the dinner party” which resides in the Brooklyn museum. Judy has also created a number of colossal, banquet style tables with the help of several hundred volunteers with each place setting commemorating a mythical or historical female figure; including martyrs, activists, goddesses and artists. Other noteworthy projects of her artistic career include: the holocaust project; the birth project; the power play and womanhouse. 

Judy Chicago, Gunsmoke 1971, offset litography

Judy Chicago, Gunsmoke 1971, offset litography

Martha Rosler: Martha Rosler is amongst the most well-known names in the feminist photography industry. She is an artist with the majority of her work centering on the everyday life and public sphere of women. Among her most widely known works are the pioneering video tapes including, Born to Be Sold: Martha Rosler Reads the Strange Case of Baby S/M; Martha Rosler Reads Vogue; Losing: A Conversation with the Parents; Vital Statistics of a Citizen; Simply Obtained and Semiotics of the Kitchen.

Body Beautiful, or Beauty Knows No Pain: Hot House, or Harem (1966­-72

Body Beautiful, or Beauty Knows No Pain: Hot House, or Harem (1966­-72

Hannah Wilke: Hannah Wilke was an American sculptor, video artist, painter, feminist photographer and performance artist. She used feminist photography to express a non-traditional representation of the female body. In 1974, she worked on her photographic body art-piece known as ‘Starification Object Series - S.O.S’. In this project Hannah used her own body as the subject and by placing various pieces of chewed-gum on her body, she aimed to spread the message that women are often being used sexually only to then be thrown away by society, much alike to chewing-gum. 

Self-Portraits (Feminism Project)

Self-Portraits (Feminism Project)

Ana Mendieta: Mendieta was an influential artist best known for her earth body performances. She explored her identity as a feminist photographer that was also encompassed by sculpture, film and painting. Her work was generally focused on themes including feminism, violence, place, death, life and belonging.

Marina Abramovic: Marina was regarded as the grandmother of feminine art and performance. She pioneered a new way of bringing feminine social issues to the forefront by confronting pain, blood and the physical limits of the female body. In her performance work - Rhythm 0 (1974) - she did more than horrify her audience; she presented the public with 72 various objects ranging from a bullet and a rifle to feathers and perfumes. She was the object to her audience and she directed the public to do whatever they wanted with her body, with the items given, over the period of a couple of hours, by the end of the performance, her body was attacked, injured, stripped and devalued to an image damaged with marks of aggression.