I would like to introduce you to an artist by the name of Hannah Altman. Relying on a certain “shock-factor” and the recoil of audiences in their reaction, the 19-year-old artist based in Pittsburgh has got her foot in the door of the art world recently after the release of her series And Everything Nice. In the photographic series she highlights the issue of gender differences and the unreasonably high beauty standard for women. The faceless and carefully composed still photographs represent girls and women in all various afflictions where bodily fluids are replaced with a much more palatable substance – glitter. A girl retching green glitter into a public toilet, blue glitter as a girl weeps, red glitter as a grazed knee, bleeding gums and a menstrual stain. She commentates of the unrealistic expectation for women to hold attraction in any circumstance, and challenges the pre-conceived beauty standard as audiences are either confronted or in awe of its metaphorical state. She avoids including recognisable and identifiable features of the subjects in her photographs, so as to focus on its conceptual meaning. The photos can be seen below (credit to Hannah Altman)
But how do we make these connections between an image and an important social issue? Do we make the link because our mind leads us to or do we make the link because it is what the artist/composer/author wants us to? Is it possible that different audiences would read these images more than one way? For example, a female audience may view these photographs and directly relate to the situations depicted, and connect with the ideology that women have an expectation held upon them, where they are expected by society to always appear beautiful. However perhaps a male audience will not relate and may see these images and interpret a message stating that women do not experience somewhat repulsive bodily behaviour, and instead experience it as if it were as beautiful as glitter. These distorted views and differing connotations will depend on the experiences and the ideologies of the on looking audience and how they interpret the representations. So my question is, how do you interpret these images? What do you think the connotations are? Leave a comment below to let me know what you think.
For now, signing off,