Set Side by Side, We Intersect – by Anna Higgins

” Men have created a world for themselves, a perfect reflection of all that defines them. For those situated beyond the parameters of traditional masculinity and its formidable gaze, capturing a glimpse of yourself in the surrounding world is a rarity. Living in an ocular-centric culture, the onslaught of photographic content is inescapable; we operate under the assumption that seeing is believing, thus photography is positioned to have a unique grasp on sculpting the ideals held by society.  “

-Anna Higgins

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” Prevailing narratives, informed by a sense of truth proffered through the photographic image, create an unwavering sense of certainty- furthering the dissemination of an ideology that positions femininity as ‘other’. Shifting the gaze to position intersectional feminism as the central world view allows for divergent perspectives to emerge. Views that contest typical notions of sexuality, desirability, and objectification. These alternate viewpoints foster a tension that ruptures the surface of the idealised world, allowing us to reawaken from the normalisation of the singular narrative as we disentangle ourselves from cultural constructs by which we are influenced. “.

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These conflicting ideas translate to the wall. Images cluster at varying scales forming tension points as ideas intersect, exposing the discomfort experienced as we are confronted by our own prejudice. Feminine forms and curves are referenced through the hang, alluding to what is present and what is still to fill the spectrum the work creates. A methodical rhythm emanates through the series, suggesting that if given the chance, it would continue beyond the gallery walls. ‘Set Side By Side, We Intersect’ prompts a dismantling of the feminine taboo, allowing for the exploration of intersectional narratives as a means of dismantling patriarchal ideals of femininity. “

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” ‘Set Side By Side, We Intersect’ responds to the dominant modes of visuality functioning within the sphere of female photography at this point in time. We are over saturated in one-dimensional images of young women bathed in golden light. An observational stillness settles over these images as tensions arise between the admired and abhorred. Dappled light illuminates period stained underwear, while perfectly manicured hands reference sexual desire and wrinkled skin becomes appreciated. “

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Why did you choose this specific subject for your project? 

I chose to create a body of work exploring the feminine experience due to an overwhelming sense of frustration. I was tired of seeing one dimensional images of women. I wanted to create photos that show the depth, beauty and complexity of feminity in all its forms. It’s my hope that any feminine identifying person would be able to see themselves reflected in my work, whether that be literally or by the ideas it investigates.

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How do you personally relate to this issue?

Obviously, being a woman gives me an innate understanding of how it is to operate in a world that defines a women’s worth by her looks. So on that level, my own experiences are very much entrenched in this series. I am also extremely lucky to have attended university and studied photography, so I feel it is important for me to be able to share my opinions and interpretations of beauty as a means of furthering the discussion around intersectional feminism. 

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Anna is a photographer and illustrator based in Wellington, New Zealand. Her creative practice focuses on the female experience, challenging dominant representations of women in mainstream media. The work she creates dismantles prevailing narratives and stereotypes, encouraging a holistic reimagining of gender, framing it as a spectrum of intersectional narratives.

See more of her work:

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