Hide her behind a tree (2014)

Photo: Monica G Engström, Västerbottens-Kuriren

I give up. I can’t work when the squirrels from the Leftist Party of Västerbotten are staring at me through the window! 😫 (2014)

Women playing peek-a-boo behind trees. A gender cliché that can seem harmless in its playfulness. But what is actually being communicated, under the bark? I think it’s about two dimensions of reduction. Partly about portraying the person portrayed as less threatening, challenging and space-demanding. Partly about optically/physically making the person look smaller and slimmer by literally hiding parts of the body.

How images can manifest power I don’t think is discussed enough by photographers. The internet is unfortunately full of “posing guides” for novice photographers with recommendations on how to make women look smaller and men (of course) bigger. I do not recommend anyone with an eating disorder – or a camera! – to read these. But if anyone still wants to get a taste of how professional photographers can completely unreflectively teach new photographers harmful and limiting norms, clichés and ideals, I dissected such a wedding-themed guide in a blog post that happens to be called Hide her behind a tree.