Gender and Otherness


Otherness refers to the process by which one group emphasizes the difference between it and another group, to usually show their superiority and the inferiority of the other. One of the most common usage of the otherness is in reference to race. An example of this is Robert Franks image Trolly, New Orleans, 1924 which shows racial differences. The image represents the African American people at the back of the trolly as the other, in contrast with the white people in front of them. This is mainly emphasized by the separation of both the African American and the white people. The African American people appear to be pushed to the back of the trolly where as the white people are seen as more superior by sitting at the front of the trolly.

ROBERT FRANK American, born Switzerland, 1924 Trolley, New Orleans, from the series “The Americans” 1955

The Gaze

To gaze implies more than to look at- it signifies a psychological relationship of power, in which the gazer is superior to the object of the gaze. Jonathan Schroeder, 1998

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The gaze refers to how we look, one person or a group looks at another with a set of preconceptions in place. This usually implies a power relationship. The main use of the gaze is commonly in the media. Male stereotypes are usually around the war hero or the cowboy and most of the time the gaze refers to the male looking at the female. There are several key forms of gaze that can be identified in photographic, film, TV or figurative graphic art.

  • the spectator’s gaze: the gaze of the viewer at an image of a person (or animal, or object) in the text;
  • the intra-diegetic gaze: a gaze of one depicted person at another (or at an animal or an object) within the world of the text (typically depicted in filmic and televisual media by a subjective ‘point-of-view shot’);
  • the direct [or extra-diegetic] address to the viewer: the gaze of a person (or quasi-human being) depicted in the text looking ‘out of the frame’ as if at the viewer, with associated gestures and postures (in some genres, direct address is studiously avoided);
  • the look of the camera – the way that the camera itself appears to look at the people (or animals or objects) depicted; less metaphorically, the gaze of the film-maker or photographer.

List of gazes from-

Information also gathered from gender and the otherness power point


The photography of the FSA

  • The Farm Security Administration (FSA) was a government agency established in the 1930s.
  • The FSA photographers collected 80,000 photographs of America during the depression in 1930s.
  • The FSA was an effort during the Depression to combat American rural poverty.
  • Roy Stryker was hired to lead the photography section of the.
  • photographers of the FSA project went on to become some of the world greatest photographers.
  • The images stressed lives of the people effected by the depression.
  • The images were published in newspapers, magazines and books.

One of the most iconic image from the project was Dorothea Lange’s image Migrant Mother.

This image is Lange’s most iconic, reproduced images. That captures the impact of mother and child, and the lives effected by the depression. This picture also went on to become one of Lange’s most famous images. Lange capture five exposures of the family shown below, starting off at a distance  and working her closer with each exposure to took. The image Know as Migrant Mother is as shown the best exposure out of the five. With this image Lange not only captured the bond of mother and child but also the sympathy of the family’s circumstances and the feel to other parents of the bond and need to care for their own children.

Dorothea Lange, Migrant Mother, Nipomo, California (American, 1895–1965)

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Portraits are a way of showing a persons personality, in which the face and its expressions are predominant. A portrait can capture the likeness and mood of a person and often shows a person looking directly at the camera/ photographer in order to successfully engage the subject with the viewer.

This work is a portrait of Giovanni Di Nicolao Arnolfini and his wife painted by Jan Van Eyck. The painting is not a record of their wedding, and his wife is not pregnant, as it was often thought but rather holding up her dress. Eyck often inscribed his pictures in a witty way. In this painting for instance, the mirror in the background reflects two figures in the doorway, which for its time was groundbreaking because painters didn’t do things like this at the time the painting was  created. And also holds the similarity of modern graffiti on the wall of the artists signature which both the graffiti and the reflection in the mirror are considered to be very unusual.

The Arnolfini Portrait 1434, Jan van Eyck

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Thomas Gainsborough Mr. and Mrs. Andrews; 1748-9

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Thomas Gainsborough’s Mr. and Mrs. Robert Andrews is a popular painting and has become a symbol of Britain in the eighteenth century. This image was a statement of land ownership.

  • The image is considered as being a celebration of nature and ownership of land.
  • The painting portrays that the Andrews own the land.
  • Mr. Andrews shows importance and ownership on not only the land but on Mrs. Andrews.
  • The oak tree is a symbol of Englishness representing stability and strength.
  • Mr. Andrews is nonchalantly holding his gun under his arm while Mrs. Andrews sits composed.
  • Their expressions show arrogance

The portrait as document

Edward Curtis images show a  series of images documenting the culture of Native Americans, whose home where being wiped out by an American bank. Curtis published The North American Indian between 1907 and 1930 with the intent to record Indian cultures.  portrayed the traditional customs and lifeways of eighty Indian tribes.

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David Bailey

Bailey is one of the most influential portrait and fashion photographers, and is well known for his distinctive square format style, with a white background, and the ability to capture his subjects characters. Bailey is known for slightly changing this style and uses his composition to show the relationships between his subjects.

Bailey, adjusting the position of his camera so that the Kray twins are not directly in front of the camera positioning himself slightly below the twins makes them look powerful, making us look up at the twins through the lens giving the twins the power to give off an intimidating stair. Given that the Kray twins were the foremast perpetrators of organized crime in London during the 1950s and 60s Bailey has captured their reputation perfectly in this image.

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Photography: “The family of Nan”: 4

Film – Nan Goldin review

Nan Goldin

Goldin’s project I’ll Be Your Mirror shows over 300 images that document the lives of her friends and lovers as well as herself. She displays her images in a slide show format as a visual diary of her life and the people around her that she lets people read. Goldin had a sort of obsession with photographing the people around her in fear of losing the memory of them.

I used to think I would never lose anyone just by photographing them, in fact my pictures show me how much I’ve lost.

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Golden documents the impact of AIDS and drug use, as well as the intimacies of her lovers and friends. She celebrates sexuality, capturing images of drag queens and also her friends.

Nan Goldin – Nan and Brian in bed

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Nan Goldin Greer and Robert on the bed, NYC 1982

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This image shows a couple on a bed, partly blurred as though the camera was moved at the moment the shutter was released. The colour of the image indicates artificial light which suggests that the image was taken indoors. Greer, whose body extends through the center of the frame looks lost in contemplation of something not accessible to the viewer. Both subject are looking away from each other seeming to be occupied by other things around them.

Nan one month after being battered 1984

This self portrait of Nan Goldin shows her own battered face after one of her lovers beat her severely, nearly blinding her. He burned her diary which he read and their addiction to the relationship almost destroyed them.

Our relationship was tense, sexual and bounded by drugs.





Jeff Wall and Tom Hunter


Jeff Wall

Wall is known for his mounted wall-hung light boxes with the physical presence of sculpture. Wall’s work has two different style going for fine art photography to documentary. Many of Walls images are staged and refer the the history of art and philosophical problems of representation. The painting Las Meninas by Diego Velasquez is considered as being a huge influence to Hunters work. The painting was based on a real situation however the actual painting itself is of a staged situation, influencing Wall’s work as he to works on bending the traditions of photography.

Jeff Wall, Picture for Women, 1979

Edouard Manet’s, Un Bar aux Folies-Bergères, 1882

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Its clear that Wall used Manets painting for inspiration for his own image. In Manet’s painting, the barmaid gazes out of the frame being observed by a man. And the whole scene is being reflected in the mirror behind the barmaid creating a complex viewpoint. You can see that Wall borrows the structure of the painting for his own image and adding his style and similarly reflecting the woman who has the absorbed gaze and posture of Manet’s barmaid in the mirror while Jeff pays the role of the man.

At fist glance Jeff’s images seem to appear to be snapshots but on a closer inspection the content sometimes seems too bizarre to be real like the iconic A sudden gust of wind, 1993 which plays homage the Hokusai’s Japanese.

Tom Hunter

Tom Hunter, The Vale of Rest, 2000

Sir John Everett Millais, The Vale of Rest, 1858

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Similarly to Jeff Wall, Tom Hunter is also know for getting influence from paintings. For example his image The Vale of Rest, very clearly is influenced by Millais painting and Hunter accurately reflects things from the painting like the poisoning of his subjects to the tone of the image. Hunter adds his own style to the image making it more contemporary.