The beginning of my Photography domain.
When given the concept of power, my first initial instinct was to look at the word itself and the variety of meanings it can convey. With trying to define ‘Power’ it can be expressed in many different ways; in physics, or socially and politically.
With the word power, my first thoughts trace to where the source of ‘the power’ originates. It can be seen as the ability to dominate, whether it is from a certain individual, group, or even an organisation.
Firstly to generate a starting point to my ideas for this artefact, I referred back to the lecture we had on the, ‘Provocation of Power’, and further researched topics and theorists that gave inspiration to my work and sourced ideas. More specifically the work of theorist Foucault, and his study of the Panopticon and Disciplinary Societies. This topic within itself stemmed off to the likes of other studies.
Theorist Foucault quotes, ‘We must cease once and for all to describe the effects of power in negative terms: it ‘excludes’, it ‘represses’, it ‘censors’, it ‘abstracts’, it ‘masks’, it ‘conceals’. In fact power produces; it produces reality; it produces domains of objects and rituals of truth. The individual and the knowledge that may be gained of him belong to this production’.
In reference to the quote above in that he says we; exclude, repress, censor, abstract, mask and conceal power. It made me think of how this can be converted into the media sense of things. Meaning that power is a ‘term’ that is widely used within every aspect of the media industry. We as the public cease to this so called power, as we can be seen as its guinea pigs. We all take part and spectate some form of medium, whether it be; film, magazine, TV etc., and these influence our own opinions and thoughts. As Jim Morrison quotes, ‘whoever controls the media, controls the mind’. If as an individual you participate in some form of media you are controlled in some way by someone within it; someone who obtains some right of power.
This whole notion branched off the beginning of my idea for my power artefact, and the research I would embark on in order to create it. I decided to create an artefact focused on the, ‘Power Within’, meaning the power within the body and the overlooked power of women overtime.
The said stereotype of women within the media is either, as a sex symbol or portrays their vulnerability. I made the decision to research through the decades of women’s portrayal within the media spectrum, and see the stereotypes given off within the images.
Key aspects I noticed in my findings were that of drastic changes to a woman’s image throughout the course of time, and how radically it can occur. Back in World War 2, women showed initiative in that they held just as much power and responsibility at home whilst their loved ones were away at war. This is showcased in the iconic poster, with the words, ‘You Can Do It’, and showing the woman on it in an obvious power pose.
This however is completely different to the likes of a more recent representation of women in the media, in reflection of the way they’re photographed in certain magazines.
‘The gaze is male whenever it directs itself at, and takes pleasure in women, where women function as erotic objects’ – Laura Mulvey. I wanted to display the opposite of this stereotypical image we now see repeatedly in the media, and relate back to the times such as WW2, the representation of a stronger woman.
I’ll apply my research in my artefact by recreating particular/certain power poses that can reflect upon the normal over sexualised and vulnerable woman within the media. I decided to portray this with the main use of photography, with a warm tone to show the detail of flesh of the body parts and create shadows to highlight power within the figure.
Benefits of my research have enlightened my ideas and made them more insightful and meaningful, as they can add depth to a piece and relate or have been inspired by past or present works or other artists.
‘You Can Do It’ – Poster
Rolling Stones Magazine Image
Collage of Magazine Covers