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The ‘private’ photographs of Marie Høeg and Bolette Berg: Questioning gender roles circa 1900
02.27.2017
11:41 am
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Marie Høeg (1866-1949) had short cropped hair. Bolette Berg (1872-1944) kept hers long. Marie was short. Bolette was taller. They were known to the people of Horten, a busy naval port in Norway, as the two ladies who ran the photography studio called Berg & Høeg. They made their living taking portrait photographs, landscape pictures and the occasional picture of ships. In the late 1800s and early 1900s photography was the latest craze where those who could afford it had their picture taken. There were many such photographic studios in Horten. Berg & Høeg may have been long forgotten had it not been for the discovery some thirty years ago of some 440 of their glass negatives in an old disused barn in Oslo.

Among these glass plates was a box marked “Private.” Inside this box was a set of images featuring Høeg and Berg playing around with traditional gender roles. Høeg dressed as a man with a waxed mustaches, or as a boy with white shirt, cap and cigarette, or in fur pretending to be an Arctic explorer like Roald Amundsen, who led the first expedition to traverse the Northwest Passage in 1903–06.

Berg & Høeg posed with their women friends indulging in some of the worst kind of vices usually attributed to men—smoking, drinking and playing cards. Høeg also posed as husband to an unknown male friend as wife and in a rowing boat as a bowler-hat-wearing suitor to Berg’s elegant object of desire.

The finished photographs would have been shared among their small coterie of friends in Horten. Their friends no doubt laughed at these daring, subversive images which cocked a snook at the strict conventions surrounding sexuality, gender and identity at a time when women were called the “weaker sex,” and forbidden the vote.

Marie Høeg was the main subject of these “private” photographs. During her life she was best known as a pioneering activist for women’s rights. She founded the Horten Branch of the National Association for Women’s Suffrage, the Horten Women’s Council and the Horten Tuberculosis Association. Bolette Berg worked more behind the camera. The two women are believed to have met while studying photography in Finland during the early 1890s. They moved to Horten where they set up a studio together in 1895.

In 1903, the two women left Horten and set up a new studio in Oslo (then called Kristiania) where they had a career producing scenic and portrait postcards. They bought a farm and at some point stored their glass negatives in the barn where these images remained long after both Berg’s and Høeg’s deaths until their discovery in the 1980s.
 
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More of Høeg and Berg’s cross-dressing pictures, after the jump…

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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02.27.2017
11:41 am
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Animal/human hybrid sculptures and other menacing ceramic characters
10.20.2016
09:59 am
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‘Wolf Girl III’ by sculptor and artist Cynthia Consentino, 2011.
 
Sculptor Cynthia Consentino hails from my state of birth Massachusetts, and is currently part of the Art Department staff at my mother’s alma mater of the University of Massachusetts. I hope Consentino’s students know how lucky they are to have such a talented (and rather wonderfully demented) mind at their disposal.

To help illuminate my point Consentino’s ceramic series called “Exquisite Corpse” borrowed its title and played upon the concept from a collaborative poetry game played by members of the Surrealist movement. It contains curious pieces that incorporate the bodies of animals and people with sinister and strangely captivating results. And while we’re on the topic of sinister ceramics Consentino’s portfolio is full of characters who fall into precisely that category, such as menacing looking human/wolf hybrids, angry children as well as toddlers armed with weapons.

According to an article on the artist from 2007, she was further inspired to mix-and-match her sculptures’ decidedly non-bianary gender compositions after reading a study that took on sexual stereotypes from the perspective of a five-year-old child. So instead of incorporating the heads (or bodies) of a predatory animal that one might associate with a “boy” Consentino sculpted a ferocious-looking wolf head onto the body of little girl wearing a pink dress. If you’d like to see Consentino’s work up close a few of her pieces are a part of four different current and upcoming exhibitions in New York, Pittsburgh, and Boston. Of course if you ever find yourself visiting the John Michael Kohler Arts Center in good-old Sheboygan, Wisconsin you’ll be able to get an eyeful of Consentino’s handiwork as her gorgeously odd creations adorn the walls and stalls of the entire ladies room.

Examples of Cynthia Consentino’s work follow—some might be considered NSFW.
 

 

‘Flower Girl I,’ 2004.
 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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10.20.2016
09:59 am
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‘Men Wearing Their Girlfriends’ Clothes’ is my new favorite thing
07.05.2013
11:37 am
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To be fair, when you already have hair like a Democratic Senator’s wife, you’ve already started to embrace The Pretty
 
Spanish photographer Jon Uriarte is not gender-bending with his project, “The men under the influence.” In fact, these pictures of men in their girlfriends’ clothes only emphasizes masculinity in a way that belies the girly threads. It’s not even drag—it’s dudes looking completely incongruous to their clothes, despite sometimes looking totally comfortable (and sometimes pretty hot). It’s oddly mesmerizing, especially when the clothes aren’t really far off from “men’s” clothes, betraying the increasing gender neutrality of fashion.

Uriarte describes his project thusly:

“The men under the influence” addresses the recent change in roles in heterosexual relationships from the relationships of our predecessors and how those changes have affected men in particular. the photos attempt to capture men’s sense of loss reference, now that women have taken a step forward and have finally come into their own as equal partners. The project consists of full-length portraits of men wearing the clothes of their girlfriends or wives, taken in the space shared by the couple.


I’m not that familiar with Spain’s gender politics, but I’m sure that anxieties around emasculation are at least as prevalent there as they would be anywhere else. In nearly every developed country you have a current of reactionaries bemoaning the death of traditional gender roles (as if they’ve somehow been completely eradicated). The project is a compelling way of dealing with evolving romantic relations, but avoids the false nostalgia for a time when “men were men.”
 
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Via Feature Shoot

Posted by Amber Frost
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07.05.2013
11:37 am
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Today is Transgender Day of Rememberance

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So take a moment to remember all the gender variant people who have been killed in the past 12 months just for being who they are: Idania Roberta Sevilla Raudales, Luisa Alvarado Hernandez, Lady Oscar Martinez Salgado, Reana ‘Cheo’ Bustamente, Genesis Briget Makaligton, Krissy Bates (pictured), Alice Ferg, Tyra Trent, Priscila Brandao, Marcal Camero Tye, Shakra Harahap, Miss Nate Nate Daivs, Lashal Mclean, Didem, Camila Guzman, Gaby, Gaurav Gopalan, Ramazan Cetin, Shelley Hillard, Jesica Rollon, Astrid Carolina Lopez Cruz, Chassity Nathan Vickers, and the countless more un-named or unidentified murder victims (from the Transgender DOR website).

In their memory, and for all the gender variant people putting up with close-minded shit every single day, here’s Jayne County performing “Are You Man Enough To Be A Woman?” from the Japanese documentary New York Underground:
 

 

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile
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11.20.2011
03:03 pm
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