Photographing the Self in Herself

The Toronto photographer Jennifer Toole has come a long way since teaching herself photography using YouTube tutorials. With her background in creative arts, studying musical theatre at Wexford Collegiate School for the Arts in Scarborough and a degree in creative writing from Montreal’s Concordia University, she progressed through a a series of professional photography jobs, including house photographer for Toronto’s Northbound Leather, and later Soho House. Eventually four of Toole’s images were published by Vogue Italia.

                                                                                                                         Photograph by Jennifer Toole

 

As you can see, Jennifer Toole’s work does not conform to the stereotypical manufactured images of the female form. It is naturalistic and uncompromising in capturing real beauty. It is therefore no wonder that she, in collaboration with Australian actress Caitlin Stasey, co-founded the website Herself.com , which showcases nude portraits of Ontario women photographed in natural light.

“Herself is a gesture to women for women by women; a chance to witness the female form in all its honesty without the burden of the male gaze, without the burden of appealing to anyone. These women are simply & courageously existing, immortalized within these photos. Within their words, their experiences and stories are offered on Herself in the hopes of encouraging solidarity – that maybe we as women will take comfort in the triumphs of others rather than revelling in each other’s defeats. Let us reclaim our bodies. Let us take them back from those who seek to profit from our insecurity.” -Caitlin Stasey

 

“I feel weird and abnormal for having hair, for having zits, for having to reapply deodorant, for having to pee… Women are not real on TV and in ads they are just an image.” -Chelsea Photo by Jennifer Toole

 

This site, and the work done here, breaks the confines of contemporary cultural views of the female body. It humanizes the models with personal interviews and images that are not restricted to commercial body images that re-enforce a set of values, beliefs and ideology designed to sell products based on the aspirations of manufactured beauty.

Post-natal yoga – become the woman you never were ! Did this model even give birth ? Yes,  this is a real ad, that is as close as it gets to reality.

 

The battle for a healthy realistic expectation of the human body of all genders is ongoing. The business of fashion and “beauty” products drives Mass Media in numerous forms, from advertising to entertainment. Breaking through this heavily financed culture and the constructed reality that supports it is no easy task and Jennifer Toole’s work must be both recognized and commended. Besides links provided in the post, you can see more of her work on her blog, dailytoole.

 

 

Jennifer Toole by D. Gillespie

 

 

 

 

 

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Media Principles: Click Those Ads for Helpful Information

Media Principles - Click Ads 1Those  click bait ads for articles and services are ubiquitous.  Just remember to keep in mind the Mass Media Principles. They play to your values, beliefs and ideologies, but what if we change those icon images ? A different constructed reality emerges. How do those business interests and intended  target audiences look now ? Use the principles to view with a slightly ironic eye and underlying intention of the message becomes obvious.

Media Principles - Click Ads 2

Volkswagen Devil Logo – What Stays in the Dog Park

 

volkswagen devil logo

An ironic logo combines with a pet owner’s  bumper sticker ( I spotted this while on a family outing ) to make a social commentary about the Volkswagen Emission Standards Software Scandal.  As that little devil says, “what happens in the dog park, stays in the dog park”.  Unfortunately, the company’s dog-poo has come  back with a vengeance.

VW Sham

Meanwhile, “A new website called VWsham.com is selling magnetic bumper stickers bearing anti-VW slogans, such as “Another VW? No tanks,” “VW took me for a ride,” and “VW. German for FU.” Each magnet costs $7.50, with 5% of sales going to the International Council for Clean Transportation, according to the site.” ( Source Link )

Besides the impact this scandal will have on Volkswagen, the German economy and general attitudes towards vehicle technology, this revelation demonstrates how our culture, and the economy that sustains it, is all about information and controlling it. 

Volkswagen designed and used software to manipulate data. It sought to control information to enhance the marketability of their products. When this came to light it creates a wave of distrust that taints not only the information it provided to its target audience, but also information coming from other sources, companies and independent agencies. This is not dissimilar to the public’s distrust of government agencies and political messages; all become tarred with the same brush.

Notice it is  a company that aligns itself with the aggrieved consumer, giving them a way of communicating their frustrations and sense of betrayal, that attempts to capitalize on the scandal.  Recognizing that giving  the target audience a means to express themselves in such a way that the consumer’s personal message is directly connected to the product causing the frustration ( devaluing the consumer’s self-image) is very effective understanding of an information & messaging mass media dominant culture.

It will be interesting to see how Volkswagen, the car industry and other stakeholders try to  control the flow of information and how the public with respond to these attempts. In the meantime, those who understand the cultural need to interact and express ideas & feelings through various mass media platforms have an opportunity capitalize financially/socially.

 

Typography from Paper to Cinema

 

FROM PAPER TO SCREEN is a short animation by Thibault de Fournas. That first component  explores the development of typography on paper ( the basic rules) and then is followed by a presentation of the evolution of the use of typography in cinema.

Using  sound and animated text & imagery, the whole piece effectively becomes  visual kinetic poetry .

The pieces of Music used were:
Clair de Lune – Debussy
Shoot the Piano Player: Poursuite  a composition by
Georges Delerue is performed by – Hugh Wolff & London Sinfonietta .

 

21th Century Machine - Mystery Map List  Caslon, William, Roman typefaces (specimen).