(great) Expectations is a series of portrait and still life photographs which explore ideas of conformity to the stereotypical, individual and societal expectations of femininity as well as the portrayal of roles typically perceived as female. Each portrait is succeeded by a correlating still life photograph to further symbolise the themes within the portraits.
The female protagonist in this series searches for a sense of self and belonging through the pursuit of traditional ideals of beauty but in doing so reveals contradictions between her own and society’s expectations of perfection. The still life photographs compound the expectations conveyed in the portraits: the narratives explore the relationship with and attitude towards the idea of beauty – some convey the need to transcend these expectations of femininity, while others explore how such stereotypes enter into conflict with the sense of self and what it means to be female.
In this series I was inspired by the 1950s ideal of femininity and female identity, an era in which women were shaped into becoming a saccharine image of the perfect woman, perfect wife and perfect mother. I wanted to create narratives that combine this era of superficial perfection with the claustrophobic sense of conformity that my protagonist continues to experience even in present day society.
The pursuit of this unattainable ideal of the female identity during the 1950s often in reality, led to women experiencing intense feelings of loneliness and isolation. My intent is to convey these emotions and combine them with conflicting feelings of ambivalence and defiance as my character is overwhelmed with the social pressure to conform to the female ideal.
Vicky Martin (UK) is an award winning fine art photographer. Studying art and photography in the 1990s it was not until 2008 after being awarded a prestigious bursary that she was able to pursue photography professionally. Since then Vicky has had her work published and exhibited nationally and internationally, from Europe to the USA in solo and group shows. Her work continues to garner many awards and nominations including Finalist at the Lensculture Art Photography Awards 2019, Winner of the Professional Beauty and Fashion Category at the Chromatic Awards 2018, Winner of the All About Photo Magazine Colors issue 2018, Winner of the Single Image in the Professional Fine Art Category at the 12th Julia Margaret Cameron Awards 2018 and Winner of the Professional Fine Art Series at 2016 Fine Art Photography Awards.
Throughout Vicky’s practice she explores her fascination with identity and the emotions that are created by considered scenarios that are based in both fantasy and reality. Her work explores identity through staging and creating realities for characters who often display conflicting emotions with situations. Vicky seeks to encourage the viewer to ask questions of her work to which ultimately the answers depend on the viewer’s own personal identity and perceptions.