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Reframings: New American Feminist Photographies

Reframings: New American Feminist Photographies by Lucy Lippard

Lucy Lippard’s goal is that she is trying to walk the reader through the process of figuring out what “feminist art? is, especially in terms of a landscape. She talks about the terrain and the lack of critical attention it gets from a majority of feminist analysts. She said that usually the focus is on the home, workplace, urban and suburban environments, but not so much on the terrain. She makes the point that the terrain has been possibly gendered into a masculine symbol of freedom that many women feel excluded from.

Key terms and feminist theory from Chapter 1:

Lippard said that “most artists have been led into the political from personal concerns (pg. 39),? Lippard is essentially referencing a popular social movement slogan, “the personal is political,? and applying it in terms to art and making art.

She also talked about the idea of a “feminist landscape.? Lippard discusses the characteristics of what makes a landscape feminist. Is it because it is where the “culture and nature meet?? Is it because it is a landscape is seen “as the body of a woman?? She recognizes that in photography, landscape shooting has been dominated by men, or rather the most famous pieces that are recognized have been shot by men, since women have been shooting those scenes – just not getting recognized for it.

Lippard references J.B. Jackson “In an amnesiac late 20th-century society, there is a necessity for ruins.? She does so because she wants the reader to remember history. Photography does that so well, because one is able to catch a memory so vividly, and in doing so, one can hold onto that memory forever.

She also discussed a “politically contested space,? and how a beautiful photograph is able to draw the audience into it without any warning.

Lippard talked about power and how it pertains to feminist photography. She said that “…the balance of power, is the key to looking at almost every “natural? landscape, and power is always a feminist issue.? Feminist photographers, especially women photographers who shoot landscapes are able to capture their power, and by doing so, liberating themselves (because they are in-control).

Lippard also wrote about the “housewife syndrome? and how in Nevada, women who lived downwind from a nuclear testing site, were diagnosed as neurotic because they displayed symptoms of severe radiation sickness, or having “housewife syndrome.?

My reflection on the collection:

After I have reflected on the text I have the following thoughts: I loved Lippard’s reference to Jackson’s idea of the “necessity for ruins.? The idea of the 20th century having some sort of amnesia that has caused up to forget the pain and roots of our history was wonderfully poignant. Photography is really an awesome way to capture scenes of real life and freeze them forever. I have always been drawn to photography, and I connect to the idea that making these images is really making history.

We read this text collectively because we learn ideas better when we learn ideas and then have to “teach? other about them. By reading the text collectively, we were saving each other time and energy, but also learning basic concepts and key ideas that the author originally wanted us share with us.