Feminist Photographer | Bard College Undergraduate Application Essay

Behind the camera’s shutter, I am never calm or collected. I am, more often than not, trying to figure out my next shot, my eyes darting from my subject to the light source to a detail of the scene. However, I am perfectly content.

When taking photos, I am enveloped by my camera, and I am removed from whatever social setting I might find myself in. I stop engaging in conversation and, even as my thoughts accelerate, I focus on getting what I want out of the moment. From behind a camera, I feel as though I have a purpose. My camera gives me the space to figure out what I want to say.

Ever since I was a little girl, I have been bombarded with oppressively idealized images of women everywhere I look. Take, for instance, an average ride on the subway. There are ads for breast augmentation in the cars; magazine stalls on the platform with airbrushed celebrities on every cover; images of scantily-clad models bouncing around on every billboard by every exit. These images beg women to find endless faults that need fixing, often with the goal of appealing to men. If what we see most in the media is a display of women as objects for the male gaze, it’s no surprise that the industry that creates images — photography — has historically…

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