Girl culture photo essay
As attractive twins, they got lots of attention, and my proximity to them and pride in our friendship was almost as satisfying as getting the attention myself.
The older girls provided a glimpse of the physical changes that were imminent. She used such a mixed-media strategy before, in the award-winning Fast Forward: Growing Up in the Shadow of Hollywood, but this journey takes her nationwide into different regional and ethnic communities.
Girl culture production
In combining the voices of girls with their portraits, Greenfield acts as reporter and cultural anthropologist as well as art photographer. On the opposite page two ballerinas with impossibly long legs rest gracefully in splits. In this book, Greenfield turns her lens toward the commodification of the female body and female rituals, and boy does she nail it. I was still terribly innocent and very much a child. Girl Culture forces the reader to look at some of the ugly truths about American culture and femininity when it seems easier to look the other way. On the one hand, they feel really dated, but on the other, the themes are still so relevant. Then, when I went back and realized who it was, I put her in the book because of the rise of reality TV and the significance of Keeping Up with the Kardashians had become so important to the shift in values that I was trying to document. Modern femininity requires a degree of exhibitionism, or at least a willingness to display oneself as a decorative object. The body has become the primary canvas on which girls express their identities, insecurities, ambitions, and struggles.
In one picture a strawberry blonde leans against a white trailer in Arizona. In Allegra, Greenfield documents a beloved game of dress-up.
They were outgoing, and I was painfully shy. In this respect, Lauren Greenfield is adding her name—and her artistic power—to the growing number of girl advocates who believe that American popular culture is especially dangerous for girls. I was particularly struck by the ways in which the subjects seem to be striving toward empowerment, albeit in incredibly misguided and destructive ways.
The stunning photos are amplified by raw personal narratives I got this book after being blown away by Greenfield's documentary "Queen of Versailles" and realizing that I was already familiar with her work from her documentary "Thin" which is available on YouTube.
What is girl culture
I was enmeshed in girl culture before I was a photographer, and I was photographing girl culture before I realized I was working on Girl Culture. In another the reds, golds and black of a Las Vegas ashtray are so vibrant that it seems to explode. My journey has been spontaneous and unpredictable, subject to the people I happened to meet, the twists and turns of my travels, my assignments, the access I gained, my interest at any particular moment. These interviews, and the photos that accompany them, really get to the dizzying contradictions of life in America as a young woman. A single, dramatically lit photograph of perfectly circular breasts undergoing surgery reminds us of the growing number of American women and girls whose quest for physical perfection leads them to intrusive medical procedures. A century ago, the culture of girls was still rooted in family, school, and community. They are about the girls I photographed.
Images like these suggest that appearance junkies are made, not born, by the enormous array of body projects and pressures at large among us.
With photos that are gritty, gorgeous and often deeply unsettling, photographer Lauren Greenfield Girl Culture. In short, I've never read a book that so captures the double-edge sword of American femininity, wherein you are punished if you do not conform to cultural expectations of sexiness, and you are also punished if you do conform to these expectations.
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