Artist Statements

PHOTOS de FEMMES- “WOMEN CAN’T BE HEARD IF WE CAN’T BE SEEN

 Photos de Femmes was created to bring positive and empowering images of women to exhibits and festivals around the world.  Below you will find Artist’s Statements from some of our featured photographers

CARMEN DE VOS
Website: www.carmendevos.com/ : In my series Birth I portray pregnant women. I’m interested in walking the fine line between death and birth, between caring and rejecting. I long to play with the clichés that surround pregnancy and motherhood. I dare, I challenge, I laugh, I cherish women who are just that tad deliciously wicked, audacious, pushing the portrait beyond the boundaries of ordinary life. Carrying new life makes women strong and invincible. She radiates a pride that comes from a deep-rooted sense of importance; without her no new life. I make most of these portraits with old Polaroid camera’s on long-expired film because I’m afraid to lose the tangibility of materials and the slow process of making which goes with real slow human contact. The result of these sessions are real objects, real photos that I can connect to, like new mothers connect with their child when they first hold it.

 SUSAN de WITT
Website: www.susandewitt.net/: Susan de Witt is a fine art photographer living in Portland, Oregon. She began studying photography almost 20 years ago and has been printing her film-based photographs in her darkroom on suitable papers for about 15 years.  With the female form as her muse, her style brings forth a strong editorial/fashion quality, with images that have a contemporary edge while maintaining a painterly quality of light.  She strives for an ethereal and nostalgic look in her imagery that also gives a questionable authenticity to reality.  She finds there is a tangible connection between women that allows a certain ease and comfort between photographer and muse. It’s a kind of intimacy that is long lasting, with easy physical closeness and trust.

 JACQUELINE ROBERTS
Website: www.jacquelineroberts.com : Jacqueline Roberts’ work presents a collection of intimate portraits. She works using obsolete photographic techniques (wet plate collodion) and makes albumen prints, cyanotypes, and bromoils. Reviving the craft associated with photography constitutes an essential part of her process, from mixing her own chemistry, cutting her glass plates to working around chemical flaws. Her award-winning portraits have featured in publications such as New York Magazine, the Royal Photographic Society JournalDrome Magazine and China’s Photographers Companionamong others. Her work has been exhibited internationally. She has published three books and her fourth monograph, Nebula, has just been released by Italian art publisher DAMIANI. 

Another essential aspect in my work is to pause and take the time to create an image. My portraits are about that, time. Time passed. Time elapsed. Time suspended. Time ahead or behind us. The portraits from the series Nebula required long exposures which eased the sitters into detaching themselves from their immediate surrounds, as if suspended in time and in space. The individuals in these portraits are neither children, nor adolescents. I wanted their portraits to emerge from that state of limbo to evoke the transitional stage that they are going through. Nebula, Latin for mist, reflects on the turmoil of growing up with all its relational, psychological and emotional changes.

RENÉE JACOBS
Website: www.reneejacobs.com : Renée Jacobs is the recipient of the International Photography Award for Fine Art Nude. Her photos have been exhibited and published in galleries, books and magazines around the world.  She is the Director of the Photos de Femmes photo festival in the south of France, dedicated to promoting powerful and positive images of women. “Renée Jacobs’ photographs of the female form bring the viewer elements of sensuality, elegance, grace, and beauty. The cornerstone of her images have reflected female empowerment throughout her career, as she handles herself with an intelligence and confidence that have made her images sought after by collectors worldwide. Jacobs seems to be the perfect person to discuss the female gaze, as well as the strength of character behind it.”—Michael Kirchoff, BLUR Magazine. Her latest interview can be seen here: https://www.catalystinterviews.com/interviews/2018/7/rene-jacobs

ANNE SILVER
Website: http://www.poeticimageryfineartphotography.com/ : Born in 1969, Anne Silver is an American writer and analog photographer who lives in Paris, France.  Before dedicating herself full-time to these pursuits, she worked for many years as a psychotherapist who specialized in grief and trauma.  Anne's photography and writing are influenced by the work of helping others to heal and by her own process of healing from the losses in her life, including the death of her adolescent son in 2008.  This body of self-portraits speaks to that loss in particular.  Anne used to talk to her therapy clients about the central task of grief being one of holding on while letting go.  In saying that, she meant that we must learn to hold on to the memories of those whom we have lost without drowning in them, without becoming stuck in a netherworld between a past that we are loathe to leave behind and a present in which we are consumed by a longing for what can never be.  In letting go we, learn to accept and live with the loss, to move forward in our lives in the most authentic way we can, honoring all that we are and all we have been through.  Our hearts are large enough to hold these seeming contradictions.  Anne's photography explores themes of nostalgia, grief, and hope with sensitivity and tenderness.    

MAGGIE STEBER 
Website: http://www.maggiesteber.com/main.html : I photograph a lot of women in various circumstances, either those of my own creation, or in real life situations.  Each time I do, I feel like I'm photographing a sister or that I'm looking in the mirror. I love being a woman and I want always to be sure that when I photograph a woman, no matter her situation, that the best thing about her is going to come through, even in the worst situations.  And also, we are so strong, we are the glue of everything and that thought is always with me, that we can be warriors.

SARAH HADLEY
Website: http://sarahhadley.com/ : Sarah Hadley’s photographs and collages are meant to express the joys and heartache of being female in the 21st century. Her images are almost all self-portraits, which illustrate her own experiences, desires and dreams. Created as cyanotypes and photo based collages, they address the female psyche and the strength that comes from aging. In these mysterious self-portraits, Hadley carefully manipulates the image through deconstructing, layering, using alternative processes and mixed media in order to create complex narratives derived from her own dreams, desires and experiences. She creates visual rhythms that echo between elements and images, which draw us in and deliberately obscuring parts of the female body, she leaves the viewer desiring more. Hadley chose to take self-portraits as a way of reclaiming her identity and body, which she saw changing before her as she aged, and as a way to address the lack of representation of the bodies of middle-aged women in art.  In the end, all of her manipulations are ways of leading the viewer to the truth of the emotion behind the stories. In 2009, she founded the Filter Photo Festival in Chicago, which she oversaw for the next seven years.  She has had solo exhibitions at the Griffin Museum of Photography in Boston and the Loyola Museum of Art in Chicago, and her work has been shown in museums and galleries around the US. Hadley’s work has also been featured in many publications including B+W Magazine (UK), PDN, L’Oeil de la Photographie, ArtTribune, Shots, Don’t Take Pictures, Lenscratch.com and F-Stop Magazine. A handmade book of her Lost Venice series debuted last October at Fall Line Press as part of Atlanta Celebrates Photography.

ELIZABETH OPALENIK
Website: https://elizabethopalenik.com/ : Elizabeth Opalenik Oakland, California, This peripatetic artist is often on the move with a 40 year career that has found her making images on six continents, seeking the beauty and grace that exists within all things.  As a photographic artist, she believes that all good photographs are self portraits that lie somewhere between imagination and dreams.  She strives to convey that everyone has an inner beauty to be seen, especially women, authentic and natural in their elements. For Elizabeth, it is an honor to document  the soul and beauty of women…those that accept themselves…unnoticed in an often unaccepting world. To them she says, “Embrace yourself, for you are a work of art.” Following a life-long dream, she published her first monograph, Poetic Grace-Elizabeth Opalenik Photographs 1979-2007.