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Visual Haiku: The Female Gaze

As a way to navigate the distress and uncertainty of surgery and mediate the inevitable marks that the surgeon’s work would leave on her body, Rebecca Waring-Crane began taking pictures of herself. What began as an effort to manage uncertainty by making art, evolved into a visual memoir, a practice of patient attention—bearing witness to the flux of life in one’s own body.

Visual Haiku: The Female Gaze,  iPhone6 self-portraits on vinyl, 2017
On a day hike in December 2017, my husband Ken and I had the trail almost all to ourselves. We stopped for lunch in a sheltered spot. At about 6,000, the sky was a blue bowl of clarity and the sun-warmed rocks seemed inviting. Without hesitating, I shed my clothes and pointed my phone camera at myself. In the moment. Led by instinct. Simply capturing myself.

The Female Gaze: “Despite its growing ubiquity in popular culture, the term ‘female gaze’ doesn’t have a definitive meaning. Generally, when women direct films, take photographs, make sculpture, and even write books or articles, they’re often said to be harnessing the ‘female gaze’.” (Alina Cohen, The Nation, September 2017) For the purposes of my work the term means a woman—me—taking or making pictures of herself. A woman stands as author and subject of the work. Who tells the story makes a difference.

Rebecca Waring-Crane

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