photography, Western Michigan University

Kaitlyn Rode

Kaitlyn Rode
ART 5480: Photography Workshop
Digital Inkjet Prints; 23″ x 15″
There will be 12 in the series

“To the person in the bell jar, blank and stopped as a dead baby, the world itself is the bad dream.” – Sylvia Plath

The Bell Jar was published in 1963 and written by the American poet Sylvia Plath. For this series of work, I use The Bell Jar as a map of female expectation, mental illness, and growth; themes that have had constant relevance in my own life. I focus on young women going through a similar metamorphosis as I, and often similar pains. Each photo is inspired by a different quote from the novel that I portrayed not as an illustration but as a visualization of what that quote means to me and how I relate. As a result, this series works as a link between Sylvia Plath’s semi-autobiography, my experiences, and countless other young women’s stories.

Plath, Sylvia. The Bell Jar. Harper Collins, 1971.

18 thoughts on “Kaitlyn Rode”

  1. I like the composition of your photographs. The way you captured models is really interesting. What I especially like about works is the tone of the photos. It forms dream-like feeling. Impressive work!

  2. Your ideas are very strong in these photos and I kind of want to see the quotes that are associated with each photograph. I especially enjoy the third photo because it looks like her hair or a telephone line is choking her as she lays there lifeless. The scene makes me think of how women are constricted by their looks and that they must appear perfect all of the time. The perfectly curly strand represents the perfection that women are supposed to acquire. The second photograph looks like it is making a comment on how women are always being looked down upon or being “stepped over”. Although, the subject does look quite scared so it could also be a comment on physical abuse in a relationship. Either way, very strong emotions. I really enjoy your works and hope to see more!

  3. I think the concept behind your work is very wonderful, and I wish I could see the quote that each photo represents. I’m particularly drawn to the second piece in this series. The subject’s eyes are just so striking, and I like how soft her facial expression is. I do feel it is a little overexposed in the subject’s shirt, but I think the composition is very strong. I do like all the images you have shown. They are hauntingly beautiful and I enjoy the “creepiness” to your series. Wonderful work, I would love to see more.

  4. Your photos are giving a very magical, fairytale vibe, specially in the first photo, even though they capture a dark mystical context. I really enjoy the first three pictures because of the color tones that found in the photos, your artist statement also goes very well with the photos

  5. I am drawn to your photos for a number of reasons. Firstly, I read this book and can definitely see the relationship between some of the themes in the book in your work. There is definitely something a little spooky in your photos. Especially in the first one where the girl is lying down with an insect on her face. While she seems very put together there seems to be an underlying sadness to her.

  6. I love your choice of concept, and I think that you were really successful at capturing the essence of Sylvia Plath. Compositionally, I feel that the particular angles you used were significant as well as incredibly creative! I LOVE the image with the girl on the bed with the phone cord around her neck. The repetition of the wavy pattern in the hair with the curly phone cord is very interesting.

  7. The dreamlike colors in all these photos work incredibly well with your subject matter, whether they’re bright or muted. The soft focus you use also adds to this dreamy, ethereal effect. The second and last photos are my personal favorites, as the actions in them are simple, yet engaging and your models staring directly into the camera directly engages the viewer.

  8. Referring to the first image: I think this image is really nicely composed and you can tell there is a lot of meaning behind it. I like the pale fall colors of the image and the use of rule-of-thirds. I like how just the subjects head and face is in focus and the rest of her body blurs while we can still see what’s going on. Lastly, I like the added detail of the cicada. I think it makes the photograph even more interesting.

  9. Each of these photos are hauntingly beautiful in their own way. I love your composition of the third photo. The lighting on your subjects face is so soft and her eyes are still so vibrant. I also loved the framing of this photo as well. You created a very intriguing composition. Well done!

  10. This series is so so powerful and well done. You did a great job at choosing the best spots to focus on, especially the fourth shot where you heavily focused on her eyes. The concept really comes through well in each shot and one doesn’t detract from another or overshadow others which is really great as well. I particularly like the color scheme, tones and low saturation aesthetic; it really adds to the overall concept. Great job, can’t wait to see more.

  11. Absolutely adore not only the color scheme, but angles you chose to shoot the women from. The changing up of angles combined with the unique expressions of each model creates a very strong impression of power, whether direct, hidden, or calm. Very strong work!

  12. I really love the research and heart you’ve put into creating these visuals representing quotes from the book. I find the first three photos to be quite powerful in telling a story without needing words. Personally, the first photo seems to be a juxtaposition between the living and dead; that is, a fleshy and glowing body lying on the bare, earthy ground with hands in a formal positioning resembling those in a coffin. The second photo seems to address the expectation of women being submissive or inferior to men. The third photo seems to talk about suicide or perhaps homicide. The last photo is a bit ambiguous to me, which leads me to suggest you to include the poems that you were inspired by in your post/artwork exhibition. You don’t have to exactly match up the poems to each photo if you’re trying to leave for some room of subjectivity; however, just attach the poems to allow the viewer to make their own decisions as to which photo represents which poem. Overall, your images are beautiful.

  13. These images are so striking. I can really see the story/poetry you are portraying and each of the images really works well with one another. I find your color choices and framing to be absolutely stunning and I’m left in awe by the focus you chose in each image.

  14. I love the soft focus you used, and I really enjoy the color scheme. I also think you did a really great job of choosing the best spot to really focus on in each photo. Overall, amazing work!

  15. I like the idea of having your photos represent the poem by Sylvia Plath, I also think that the photos have really good composition and are focused really well on the girls faces.

  16. This series is very beautiful in a very dark way. It reminds me of this unexpected merging of innocence and sweetness with deeper thoughts and actions. I think that it accomplishes your goal of linking with The Bell Jar very well. I would love to see this done with more of the book and then put in chronological order. I think this would make a very impactful statement on your overall impressions of the book.

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