Fashion industry standards, suffering to fit ideals of beauty, schizophrenia, illness, happy never after love expectations, prevailing sexism in bohemia, the common death wish–Natalie Girsberger turns her lens onto society’s dark corners.
The photos titled Passing Shadow and Industry Standards we see the fashion industry through her critical lens. Photographs causing the viewer to question gender roles in images that cross boundaries and perhaps change the way we see women and ideas of beauty.
The above image titled Industry Standards, shows us a girl who is clearly clearly beautiful, “but she is just skin and bones” relates the photographer. She is frozen in her perfectly styled outfit and “the hard light emphasises her skeleton-like appearance.” The goal of this image to emphasize “the fine line between beauty and sickness in this business that treats its starving models like shiny objects.”
The view, as seen through Natalie G’s lens, present us with sometimes uncomfortable images– in critical ways of looking at aspects of our culture. Yet, not simply as that–to criticize–but encouraging us to take more chances in our own work and lives rather than fall into similar roles and patterns.
Ranging from the improbable to the disturbing, in the realm of the psychosexual and sociocultural, Natalie takes us behind the scenes, away from the glitz and advertising propaganda, to show us models secretly suffering to fit these mostly short-lived high fashion career choices–used up and spit out, perhaps after just a few short years. Yet why do so many aspire to look the part?
Every picture tells a story and these may be cautionary tales depicting Reality as a forewarning.
The black and white image with the cigarette is titled 60s and is out of the series androgynous decades, playing upon generally accepted but in fact constructed gender roles dominating our perception of sexes throughout history and the roles of females. This particular photograph, from the series, plays with beat poets in the East Village, where this photo was shot. Still today, inherently male and associated with strong characters such as Allan Ginsberg, rarely is it acknowledged that females have done some outstanding work within the movement.
The photo of the girl with an owl is called “No White Knights” from the photographer’s happy never after series of images that deal with the real disappointments that unfulfilled popular expectations of love evoke. Waiting for fairy tales to come true, life passes us by. It’s about overthrowing expectations to understand what it is that we as individuals genuinely want from love. Maybe love is not really the happy end to everything? Perhaps it’s about growing up and defining our life the way we want to live it for ourselves.
The photo of the reflection in the glass of a girl holding a bunch of balloons is from a series of Natalie’s photographs called dreamer, the image titled lucid dreaming. Depicting another side of expectations– the anticipation for dreams to come true. Staying hopeful against all hopes. Natalie writes, that this photo, “…is also a love letter to New York City, and how we dream big in this town that treats us quite roughly, hence the industrial setting. It also shows the way that we often have to break things to truly overcome what holds us back (as in this case the glass) to really control our dreams and start living life without a glass wall in front of us, dream lucidly rather than being controlled by other people’s dreams.”
Natalie Girberger’s website: http://www.natgirsberger.com