SHANNON REED PORTRAIT

Women

Shannon Reed
Chloe...

Chloe...

I love photographing women.  Any women - not just models or those considered perfect*; in fact - most of the women I photograph are not models.  Some might be headed that direction but, for the most part, the women I photograph don't have a clue about how beautiful they actually are.

We have such silly expectations of ourselves, don't we?  I mean think about all the minutes/hours/days/months/years we spend obsessing over our looks and picking apart every little detail.  You might be surprised to know that this behavior even befalls women we look at and consider perfect.**

I'm going to tell you a secret:  Women are nothing short of amazing - the most beautiful creatures on the planet.  Our body parts do not necessarily define who we are - oh, no. Each woman is a complex blend of unique qualities that makes her entirely different from any other woman on the planet.  We are so rare - so precious.     

You can tell a lot about a photographer by the way he/she photographs women. The following images were taken by a few of the photographers who've influenced me the most and, while I appreciate their technical work and ability to illicit a reaction, I think it's a sort of sad and telling visual narrative of how society is permitted to view us and, also, the way we are being told to view ourselves...

 

Ellen von Unwerth

Ellen von Unwerth

Helmut Newton

Helmut Newton

Richard Avedon

Richard Avedon

Alfred Stieglitz

Alfred Stieglitz

Irving Penn (taken of his wife, Lisa-Fonssagrives)

Irving Penn (taken of his wife, Lisa-Fonssagrives)

I'm not posting these to admonish anyone - that's not my place; after all, I am a huge fan of each of these photographers and admire their work immensely.  I'll leave it to you to examine the images and see how looking at them resonates for you.   

I've always said that I photograph women from the inside out - even when playing pretend in a fashion shoot, she gets to be there - she gets to have a presence and that presence deserves to be revealed and celebrated - not objectified or demoralized; certainly not pitted against another woman.  

Anyway, something that was on my mind.   

I took the image at the head of this post of Chloe yesterday.  I love editing, but sometimes what comes right out of the camera should stay just the way it is - no trickery 't all - just Chloe being Chloe.  Beautiful, right?    

Damn straight.  :) 

*No such thing. 
**Really - there's no such thing.