Petra Collins, "Untitled #25 (24 Hour Psycho)," 2016

'girl on girl': 40 photographers explore identity in the age of the female gaze

Comprised of images and interviews from artists including Petra Collins, Juno Calypso, and Zanele Muholi, Charlotte Jansen's new photography book celebrates complicated representations of women.

by Hannah Ongley
18 April 2017, 4:55pm

Petra Collins, "Untitled #25 (24 Hour Psycho)," 2016

Some of the photographs in Charlotte Jansen's new book will already be intensely familiar — perhaps so much so that they prompt an adverse reaction. Charlotte was frustrated by one particular image that she saw reproduced everywhere from the New York Times to Tumblr: Mayan Toledano's photo of a girl face down on a bed wearing "Feminist" underwear, her back covered in metallic stickers. But it wasn't the image itself that she was bothered by. Photographs of women, by women, Charlotte says, are often talked about in mainstream media only in relation to the male gaze. Girl on Girl questions how we should look at women by presenting work by 40 diverse female photographers from 17 countries. The images are accompanied by interviews with each artist, arguing that "photographs of women are far more provocative and complicated than [everyday] viewing circumstances prescribe."

Zanele Muholi, "Katlego Mashiloane and Noshipo Lavuta, Ext. 2, Lakeside, Johannesburg," 2007

"I wanted to embrace all kinds of photographs of women by women to bring them together — not to show how they are similar but to present how photographs of women are not always about feminism and femininity (although some, of course, are)," Charlotte says. "We are so used to seeing images now in juxtaposition, that all photographs of women — static and silent — even when they're made for different purposes and audiences, are forced into dialogue with each other." Artists in Girl on Girl are as disparate as Toledano, Petra Collins, Zanele Muholi, Deanna Templeton, Izumi Miyazaki, and Lalla Essaydi. Together, they encourage not just a fresh perspective on their own photos, but the ones we see every day.

'Girl on Girl' ($29.95) is out today via Laurence King

Mayan Toledano, "Lulu, Ali and Sofy, Long Island," 2015

Deanna Templeton, '"Sandi', Huntington Beach CA," 2015

Juno Calypso, "Reconstituted Meat Slices," 2013

Jessica Yatrofsky, "I Heart Girl," 2007-16

Lalla Essaydi, "Harem #10," 2009

Isabelle Wenzel, "Field Studies 1," 2014

Izumi Miyazaki, "Face to Face," 2015

Shae Detar, "Skye," 2014

Ilu Susiraja, "Tuhmaa pullaa/Naughty buns," 2011-12


Text Hannah Ongley
Images courtesy of Laurence King

Petra Collins
Juno Calypso
Zanele Muholi
girl on girl
Female Gaze
charlotte jansen