10 female photographers. One project.
This was Pirouette blog's challenge, asking these female artists to answer this simple yet difficult question. Their work has been showcased at Playtime Paris' last edition in January and even led to an online exhibition called 'A Girl in This World'.
We wanted to ask some questions to Katie Kendrick, Pirouette blog editor, about the project, feminism and THE much-talked-about question: what does it mean to be a girl in this world?
How did you come up with this project?
Although Playtime is a trade show for children's fashion and lifestyle, I feel the show is also an opportunity to embrace creativity, artistry and current issues outside of the commercial environment.
When you have a vehicle such as Playtime it’s interesting for exhibitors, visitors, and press to have the opportunity to look at relevant issues that contextualise the industry. Pirouette’s series “Screen Capture” at Playtime Paris is a dedicated exhibition space for displaying a selected group‘s response to a theme, problem or question posed by Pirouette.
With two girls aged 9 & 6 years, I have frequently found myself asking “What does it mean to be a girl in this world”. It’s only through the awareness of the challenges, supposed limitations and expectations girls face that we truly have the tools to be empowered ‘women’. That’ my speech over...
Why was it important for you to celebrate and promote female photographers?
Funnily enough female photographers are actually well represented in children’s fashion compared to other areas. This in itself poses an interesting number of questions... Many share a similar story of having worked in different sectors but then organically shifting towards children’s fashion after starting a family.
Talking to one photographer, they said to me that female photography in children’s fashion went hand in hand, that they provide an element of softness and freeness… I don’t know if this is the case but I found her viewpoint interesting.
Tell us a bit more about these photographers: why did you choose them in particular?
Some of the photographers are long-standing Pirouette favourites, whilst others came to my attention through searching for contributors to this exhibition. It was part of the pleasure in curating the exhibition.
Interestingly I felt many of the photographers had already touched on the subject before with some of their work. I was pleased with how the exhibition worked as a whole with each photographer bringing their own unique style, passion and personality to their answer. It made for an interesting mix of responses whilst maintaining a balanced aesthetic.
We know that a lot of women around the world stood out this year regarding their rights (Time’s Up, #metoo, etc). What is your feeling about this?
The solidarity and the bravery of the women sharing their stories, standing up and finding their voice in an industry where previously they had felt pressured to keep quiet is both heart-wrenching and powerful. Opening those reinforced gates and forcing us to look and reassess the endemic and systematic abuse of power is incredibly brave and commendable.
What I do feel about Time's Up and #metoo is that it always takes one incredibly strong person to stand up and expose a truth knowing that this will almost certainly mean they become the subject of ridicule and scrutiny themselves. Sadly the whistleblower is always the one that is targeted and is shamed until others follow, this truly saddens me.
What is your definition of feminism?
Feminism is about freely expressing your voice without hindrance, exercising your rights without limitations and enjoying bodily integrity.
Who is one woman that has impacted your life?
I suppose most of us would look to their own upbringing when trying to answer this. There are many other women who have influenced my life but my mother has probably had the most impact. She’s strong, although sometimes she struggles with people thinking she is strong. Thankfully her strength and fight (in part at least) have been passed on to me and my sister which has got us through some tricky times. Less fortunately, I think I got her laugh. It’s really loud and has had a great impact on my life as well as those near me!
What were your dreams as a little girl?
Oh gosh, I wanted to sing and dance, always putting on a show. Secretly I wanted to be a film star, what a shame it’s a bit late now.
What would be your advice for this little girl?
Follow your dreams…be a film star. If that doesn’t work make sure to be in Paris in 2005. Your life will change for the better.
What does it mean to be a girl in this world?
In this world, for the time being, it still means inequality depending on geography, culture, custom, and faith but this doesn’t mean that change will not be realised through the perseverance of those who believe in equality.
● Michelle Marshall
● Manuela Franjou @mesenfantssauvages
● Zoe Adlersberg @zoes_photo
● Amanda Pratt @amandapratt
● Julia Bostock @juliabostock
● Abi Campbell @abicampbellphotgraphy
● Joanna Paterson @jojessicapaterson
● Priscilla Gragg @prigragg
● Theresa Balderas @theresabalderas
● Molly Magnuson @mollymagnuson