Maria Ahlgren

That media images are normative is apparent to most people, but how do we relate to visual-image norms when we portray ourselves? As creators and observers of images ourselves, what can we do to re-negotiate inherited structures in visual images?

Historically women have been portrayed by men and, to a large degree, the male gaze has defined our image of women. With the social media the flood of images has, in one sense, been democratized. The selfie has made it possible to narrate one’s own story in pictures and to show oneself as one would like to be seen. In spite of this,  many of the flows are relatively standardized. My feeling is that stereotypical image conventions are criticized in the commercial media but that things become more complex when it is a matter of ourselves. Why is this, and how can we start a discourse about it?

As a graphic designer I ponder my own responsibility  and seek to understand what I can contribute. By means of discussions with photographers, visual artists and Instagram profiles I have studied the subject of portrayal with its possibilities and problems. The results have been collected into a book with the aim of encouraging reflection.


Thanks to:
Matilda Plöjel, Genusredaktörerna, Linjepunkt, Göteborgstryckeriet, Annika von Hausswolff, Iréne Berggren, Susanna Lycke and all participants.

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