Wanting to try my hand at making art out of my modeling images, I reached out to some photographers requesting co-copyright of our images and their response was consistently no, with many insinuating that I was stupid and beyond my rights to even ask. The unfairness of this situation initiated my migration from dance and modeling to visual and performance art. My first attempt at owning my own image resulted in the derivative self-distortions of “My Modeling Portfolio.” This practice is still at the heart of my art as I seek to show that what a woman makes of her own image can be as much “art” as what a man makes of it, despite society’s and the art world’s implicit bias toward men artifying women (a bias I termed “Man Hands” in my 2015 curatorial essay for the show Body Anxiety, written about by Johanna Fateman that year in Art Forum).
The above images represent my early attempts to own my image in response to the industry-standard photographer (usually a man) / model (usually a woman) TFP (time for print) contract as it’s practiced on such leading websites as OneModelPlace.com and ModelMayhem.com. Below are a couple quotes from photographers that I received when asking to own the copyright to my images, and these quotes were instrumental in compelling this phase of my art:
I wrestle with these topics of ownership and respect in the following writings:
The Female Painter – curatorial statement for Body Anxiety, 2016
Self-Made Supermodel – thought piece published in Rhizome, 2016
The Instagram Model as Art World Question – curatorial statement for Nu Matr-E-archs, The Wrong Digital Biennale, 2018