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Inside, Outside.

In our culture we are bombarded with advertising on a daily basis; magazine covers, billboards, bus stops,internet, tv. EVERYWHERE. The perpetuation of achieving happiness and success through cosmetics is thrown at us. We must have flawless skin. We must have shiny flowing hair. We must have a ‘bikini body’. We must have white teeth. We must have long eyelashes. We must have hairless bodies. We must have long legs. We must have cleavage. We must have fashionable clothes. We must look our best – which seems to translate as – we must buy everything the adverts tell us to buy. Then, and only then, can we stand up tall and walk proudly out of our homes, feeling confident, and most importantly, beautiful.

Okay so what happens if I buy into this. If I buy all these cosmetics and clothes and when I look in the mirror I don’t look like the advertisements. What if I’m still chubby? What if I still have acne? What if it rains and my smooth silky hair becomes a tangled afro? Then what? When does being natural equate ugliness and being fake equate beauty?

What if women could feel comfortable and confident in wearing their inside (or home) clothes outside? And realize that spending an hour to get ready to leave the house isn’t necessary. We are trained to think that tight clothes and makeup is attractive and is consdiered making an effort.  We know if we don’t make this effort then we’re ridiculed. We don’t see photographs of ordinary women in ordinary home clothes on billboards or in magazines. If we do, it’s usually a before and after shot for some diet pill or acne pill. I want to circulate images of beautiful women without makeup into the world. But in contrast I want to show these natural beauties alongside their perceived beautiful sense. The following images are the first to emerge from my project, ‘In Real Life’. Meet the inside beauties and their outside counterparts. As you’ll see, everyone is different:

 

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What the kids are saying

I was photographing a gig in The Rickshaw Theatre on Saturday night and discovered this in the womens’ bathroom.

 

This gives me hope.

 

real photographs

As fun as my humurous self portraiture is, it is only a small part of my project. I need real women to photograph. A recent ad I placed on craigslist got a great response and my studio is booked up with modelling volunteers for the next month.

My first shoot, was of the very beautiful Theresa. One shoot with Theresa wearing her home clothes and no make-up and another shoot with Theresa wearing her favourite outfit and her makeup on. Everyday, we transform ourselves with select clothes and makeup but the beauty is always there:

  

Pigging out

At the moment I am involved in a self initiated project, titled ‘in Real Life’. The project is  based on Naomi Wolf’s ‘The Beauty Myth’, I am commenting on the expectations of women to conform to a socially constructed ideal of beauty and the implications of such conformity and non-conformity.  The project will take the format of a solo exhibition (my first)  in Xchanges Gallery, Victoria, for one month in April 2012. Aspirations for this project also include a photo-book.  I hope to have the project images completed by december 2011.

To really immerse myself in this project I have been reflecting on my own thoughts of beauty and body image and exploring self portraiture to express  myself. A lot of teenagers and young women struggle with body image, wishing they were skinnier or had better legs or a clear complexion or prefect teeth. We are bombarded with magazine covers telling us to lose weight and look good. Fatty snacks  pass guilt on the lips that they touch. Eating junk food is commonly referred to as ‘pigging out’.

Really..one chocolate bar equates pig. One muffin equates pig. One packet of chips equate pig. OH my……. what am I?

       

let me eat cake

This is me giving Cosmo and all the other gender-stereotyping-women-objectifying magazines the finger. I am so tired of seeing all the same headlines on the cover: ‘Loose 10lbs in 10 days’, Get your bikini body ready for the beach’, ’10 things guys crave in bed’, ‘how to please your man’ and my personal favorite: ‘Sexy VS Skanky The Trick That Attracts Hot Guys Like Crazy’ (Cosmo Nov 2008).  Here’s a radical idea: how about magazines and advertising tell women that they’re pretty enough as they are, that all bodies are different and all ideals of ‘sexy’ are objective. It’s okay to be who you are. If that means being the opposite to ‘sexy’… then that’s okay.

Christine Redmond ‘Consume this Cosmo!’ 2010, photographic print, dimensions variable.