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Thursday, August 22, 2019

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casper

Marlboro would love this. Powerful women smoke cigs.2
This in the 21st century.

smh

Laskya Claren

This is such a very odd post.

These are lovely and very accomplished portraits of entirely anonymous women. But powerful? In what sense? Not so powerful that their actual names or identities are important. Any power they possess has, apparently, been entirely co-opted and appropriated, or perhaps even generated by the photographer -- unless they are all actually photos OF the photographer, in which case they aren't what is being claimed for them here.

Two of these photos "show" the subject's "personality"? Really? How are we to know or judge that without knowing who they are?

The "power" of a woman doesn't reside in a nicely put-together avatar, nor in a beautifully composed photograph: it is to be found in her character and her accomplishments. These women may well all be "powerful" in exciting ways, but you'd never know it from this post: the focus is entirely upon the visual presentation. Without some sense of who is being photographed, we are left with paper-thin simulacra of power: "this is what power might look like." It's an illusion, a trick of shadows, light, and colour. Power is a nice looking photograph.

To be clear, I love Charly's pictures: they are gorgeous, imaginative, brilliantly composed, and lovingly shot. I wish I had a tiny portion of her obvious talent for portraiture. But they aren't what you say they are. And, in an odd but very real way, suggesting that they are debases the very idea of "powerful women," by transforming it into a mere appearance of power. How appropriate for a world now presided over, in large measure, by a mendacious (and misogynistic) reality TV star.

(Oh, and by-the-by, a "voyeuristic" photo that has us gazing down the top of a woman doesn't emphasize her "power": it actually robs her of agency. She hasn't chosen to be on display here: we have snatched that choice away from her.)

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