/14 Portraits

Jocelyn Lee

Women Are Beautiful

“I’m still compulsively interested in women. It’s funny, I’ve always compulsively photographed women. I still do.”

Garry Winogrand

My project Women are Beautifulis a selection of images taken from over 20 years of work on women and girls. I photograph women that I know, and women I dont know, in intimate settings like the bedroom. Mostly the women are naked or minimally clothed in lingerie, bathing suits, or nightgowns. I am interested in affirming all body types and ages, as well as alluding to the complex internal lives of women. I want to expand the notion of the beautiful to include the more vulnerable stages of life, including adolescence, pregnancy, middle age, sexuality (complete with sagging skin and scars), old age and illness. I am interested in embracing what others may see as physical imperfection or vulnerability, and documenting it with the eyes of a lover.

Some of the photographs are organized in diptychs, triptychs and sequences. These are images of the same subject where the time lapse ranges from minutes to decades. For instance, I photographed Mary Kate in 1985 during her first pregnancy with her daughter Fiona and then photographed them both over the following 26 years. There are dozens of images in the MK/Fiona series. Similarly, I photographed my mother, Gayle, from the early 1980ʼs until her death in 2008. The book and exhibition I am creating for this project includes over 100 photographs of women and girls, with at least ten of the subjects documented over a period of 25 years or more. The 50 or so images in this proposal represent only a small sampling of the body of work as a whole.

In 1975 Garry Winogrand made a book of photographs entitled Women are beautiful. Winogrand loved women, and his photographs are a testament to this love. I share Winogrands love and compulsion to photograph women, but my methods are very different. This work is intended to be a response, 36 years later, by a female photographer working with the conscious collaboration of her models, to the same subject.