Lead in Your Lipstick, 2017-Present
My entire perspective on what it means to be a woman in America changed with the election of Donald Trump. Deviating from most of my past series, I felt inspired to create a body of work that takes a new perspective on the spirit of resistance. I draw from photographs of groundbreaking women throughout history, inspired by those who did things that they were told only men could do. I have used images of Rosie the Riveter(s), Amelia Earhart, Lilya Brik, and Angela Davis as references. I am attempting to place fewer composition constraints upon myself than I have for past series, not limiting the format, size, number of subjects, or methods of achieving these images, but instead only limiting myself within a vague, imagined narrative that builds upon itself with each shoot. This narrative is based loosely around the concept of "an on-the-run (or, rather, on-the-march) sisterhood in a present-day dystopia."
I construct these images using poses and angles to intentionally challenge - or resist - my habitual methods. I have networked with other artists to meet and work with new models, who share with me their experiences of resistance in order to help me build a more complete picture of the experiences of women. In breaking away from my comfort zone, I hope to discover more new and collaborative ways to better understand how women have united to overcome many barriers.
"Lead in Your Lipstick" means a couple of things.
It is a response to a media epidemic which claim(s)(ed) that makeup companies (were/are) knowingly putting dangerous levels of lead in lipstick. This series is not so named based on the notion that this claim is true or false, but because the idea of a toxin linked to a product marketed heavily to women carries with it implications that women must be self-reliant, informed, aware advocates for their own health and safety.
The title is also based on the reclaiming of this media headline to serve a feminist cause. What if, instead of the victims, we were the weapon? In rebranding something as innocuous and feminine as lipstick, I feel like naming ourselves "the lead in the lipstick" could be analogous to "the straw that broke the camel's back." And, there's also a meaningful misreading inherent in this title: lead (as a verb and not a noun) in your lipstick.