“What spirit is so empty and blind, that it cannot recognise the fact that the foot is more noble than the shoe, and skin more beautiful than the garment with which it is clothed”
As women we each possess our own unique and individual beauty, but what do we regard as visually beautiful, and what influences our perception?
Imagery of the female form is ingrained into our visual culture, imagery it could be argued firmly originates from the male gaze. However, with the explosion of the 'selfie', and an ever increasing array of digital filters, could it not now be argued that our visual beauty as women is being manipulated to appease a new narrative; a narrative powered by our own interpretation of how we think we should look.
Much of the visual inspiration for this project has come from classical art and early Victorian portraiture, in particular the photographic nudes of nineteenth century France.
‘Le voile déchu’ translated from French means ‘the fallen veil’, an expression used by Rexer, in her book of the same name, in which she explores the literary and cultural history of the photographic nude in 19th century France (Rexer, 2021). The veil Rexer refers to is the veil of modesty, yet two hundred years on I would argue that digital filters have enabled us to hide our beauty behind a new veil, one made not of fabric, but one made of pixels.
Working only with a manual film camera, lighting, and darkroom techniques, Le Voile Déchu aims to show the true beauty of women; the one that lies behind the veil of digital manipulation.