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Role Reversal: women photographers depicting male subjects


Gender disparity has long played an important part in informing the way we look at art and art history. Traditionally, men are the artists and viewers, while women have been confined to play the role of the muse: subjects to be painted, sculpted, and photographed by and from the male perspective.

Role Reversal, a new exhibition at the Colorado Photographic Arts Center, defies tradition by presenting the work of three women photographers whose images challenge long-held perceptions of beauty and gender roles in visual culture.

In Beauty Revisited, Christa Blackwood celebrates the majesty of the male form through the re-interpretation of classical photographic nude studies of the human figure. Inspired by the iconic work of Edward Weston, Harry Callahan, and Alfred Stieglitz, Blackwood calls on the audience to view the male figure in the same light as their traditional photographs.

Lissa Rivera’s project, Beautiful Boy, is an ongoing series of photographs of her lover that examines how male displays of femininity can be both accepted and reviled in our society. With her partner, Rivera explores depictions of femininity and reclaims their voice in what is attractive and beautiful.

Jessica Yatrofsky’s series, I Heart Boy, captures young male nudes, their lanky bodies posed sensually against the minimalist backgrounds of naturally lit rooms. The images capture almost androgynous like figures resembling a different male form than the more muscular male figure depicted in past generations.

However, photographs taken by Blackwood, Rivera, and Yatrofsky do not exist solely as a counterpoint to the male narrative. Their series, here reunited, are part of a larger conversation about how we see, present, and view others in visual culture.


Role Reversal
March 2 – April 7, 2018
Colorado Photographic Arts Center (CPAC)
1070 Bannock St., Denver 80204

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