photography, Western Michigan University

Zoie Uznis

Zoie Uznis
ART 5480: Photography Workshop
Digital Collage; 11″ X 14″
Amount in Series: 8

In today’s society women are not only scrutinized but also objectified. Women are conditioned to be more critical of their looks and actions than men. Men are conditioned to promote and execute this criticality. A man’s actions and decisions do not reflect directly back onto himself; they are more of a response to a situation. A woman’s choices are a direct reflection of her character. As long as the woman appeals to the man, she is considered a success to both herself and her male spectators.

When the theorist Laura Mulvey uses her coined term “the male gaze” she is implicating her idea that the cinematic experience promotes the “to-be-looked-at-ness” that female characters exude. She describes the gaze as both voyeuristic and fetishistic. Voyeuristic in the sense that the female character is no more than a walking, talking prop with the sole purpose of visual consumption or pleasure. The female is seen as fetishistic as well, constantly reminding the male-minded viewer of their sexual need for a woman.

My images play on these ideas presented by Mulvey. I play on the idea of domesticity and female roles and how women in vintage imagery are usually represented as a sexual conquest or homemaker. I hope to leave the viewer feeling a sense of discomfort as my images either literally stare back at them or shield themselves from the viewers judgemental and consuming gaze.

photography, Western Michigan University

Ashley Huss

Ashley Huss
ART 5480: Photography Workshop
Digital Prints; 60″ x 20″
When I Grow Up… Series of around 30

“Being a student athlete here has taught me what I wanted to be when I grow up. A productive member of society.” This was said by Laura Stewart, a past softball player from 2000-2004, and was inducted into the WMU Hall of Fame in 2017. This has also been a theme of the current student athletes that are included in this show. This series shows how these students education helps with their athletic career and future outside of their sport.

I accomplished this by getting a hold of students and coaches for volunteers. I do this because I am looking for the athletes that want to talk about their future and are genuinely excited for their next step. The age in students range from juniors to seniors who are preparing for life after collage.

Before the athletes came into the studio I asked them what their majors where and what their plans were for life after college. Then I asked them to bring a couple things with them when they came in for their pictures. The supplied two of their uniforms with the objects from their sport, and an outfit as well as props representing their career choice and major.

I am constantly thinking about my future and how what I am doing in my life right now is preparing me for the best possible outcome. By pursuing this project I feel like I have brought attention to the truth of students caring about their future and not just becoming professional athletes one day. When we were kids, we were always asked, “what do you want to be when you grow up?” The answer would most commonly be, “famous.” How when I ask these athletes the same question, the answer does not match.