In 2012, one of my best friends and I embarked on a photographic exploration of gender. It started as a little extracurricular project we were doing on our own time; an excuse to collaborate and get to know one another better.
In the time leading up to our first shoot together, we started interviewing our peers and professors to get a wider sense of where our community stood on the subject. And instead of culminating in one shoot and calling the project done, we kept going. Over the next few years, we kept exploring gender together and separately: reading, researching, watching films, observing, and always shooting.
Eventually we made so much work and talked to so many people in the process that we decided to have a show.
To be clear, this show is about gender, not fashion. But for Jack and I, the exploration of the former has been pretty deeply connected to the latter. This is evident in our personal style evolutions over the last three years and is well-documented in our images, too. In them, we play with makeup as emancipation and makeup as bondage. We experiment with drag and hyper-gendered clothing and androgyny. We reverse body hair norms. We examine dressing and undressing rituals. We critique the presentation of women in fashion photography and in tabloid images. We riff on favorite characters in the history of film and theater.
Today is the last day that our exhibit, Gendering, will be hanging in the 3rd floor gallery in Adams Hall. If you live in the Chicagoland area and haven’t gotten to see it, we’d love to have you stop by.