women in sport

This project explores portraiture in relation to femininity, how women present themselves to the camera and how they are constantly aware of their appearance. The focus of each image is upon the sitter’s stance. Each composition is designed to emphasize this, using an unusual crop at the legs and a strong portrait format. In many of the images the kit seems to serve almost as a type of armour, bringing a power and confidence to the woman’s stance that the viewer may not have expected. The women I chose connected with the lens in a way that portrayed a confidence and self-awareness, yet was in no way ‘arrogant’ or ‘aggressive’. It is this sense of empowerment that I felt a real connection with during the project. It was fascinating to see how these women projected their own femininities and individualities. They imbue strength and vitality. Their femininity is unique to themselves, to the life they lead and the sport they have chosen. These unique portrayals of femininity help to support the idea that there is no ‘essential’ femininity, challenging stereotypical notions of what ‘feminine’ and ‘masculine’ may be. Photographic influences for this project included Jitka Hanzlova’s Female, Rineke Dijkstra’s Beach Portraits, Jane Brettle’s Airside and Inzajeano’s Female Boxers.

Melissa Tullett