LAUREN GREENFIELD -Girl Culture
Mirror, Mirror… by Lauren Greenfield click here
Girl Culture has been my journey as a photographer, as an observer of culture, as part of the media, as a media critic, as a woman, as a girl. These photographs are both very personal and very public. They are about what is private and what is public and where the line that divides the two lies, when that line exists at all anymore. They are about the popular culture we share and the way the culture leaves its imprint on individuals in their most public and private moments. They are about the girls I photographed. They are also about me. I was enmeshed in girl culture before I was a photographer, and I was photographing girl culture before I realized I was working on Girl Culture. In this work, I have been drawn to the pathological in the everyday. I am interested in the tyranny of the popular and thin girls over the ones who don’t fit that mold. I am interested in the competition suffered by the popular girls, and their sense that being popular is not as satisfying as it appears. I am interested in the costly and time-consuming beauty rituals that are an integral part of daily life. I am interested in the fact that to fall outside the ideal body type is to be a modern-day pariah. I am interested in how girls’ feelings of frustration, anger, and sadness are expressed in physical and self-destructive ways: controlling their food intake, cutting their bodies, being sexually promiscuous. Most of all, I am interested in the element of performance and exhibitionism that seems to define the contemporary experience of being a girl. These interests, my own memories, and a genuine love for girls, gossip, female bonding, and the idiosyncratic rituals of girl culture, have motivated this five-year photographic journey. There are girls and women in my photographs whom viewers may see as marginal or whose lives may be perceived as extreme. In effect, the popular culture has caused the ordinary to become inextricably intertwined with what to many seems extraordinary. Most girls are familiar with “marginal” experiences from television, magazines, and music. A suburban teenager says she would like to become an exotic dancer. A prepubescent girl mimics the sexualized moves and revealing clothing that she sees on MTV. Understanding the dialectic between the extreme and the mainstream—the anorexic and the dieter, the stripper and the teenager who bares her midriff or wears a thong—is essential to understanding contemporary feminine identity. The body has become the primary canvas on which girls express their identities, insecurities, ambitions, and struggles. It has become a palimpsest on which many of our culture’s conflicting messages about femininity are written and rewritten.
Photography is an ideal medium with which to explore the role of image in our culture. The camera renders an illusion of objective representation, just like a mirror. But as every woman knows, a mirror provides data that, filtered through a mind and moods, is subject to wildly differing interpretations. This project has been my mirror and my attempt to deconstruct the illusions that make up our reality. -Lauren Greenfield
More on Girl Culture:
Interview Canada’s Sex TV
Project Fast Forward