The Old Ideal and the New Reality

A topic that I have become interested in throughout the course of the semester is the perception of women, and how that perception has changed over time. I began to look at this concept with my portraits, and chose to explore this idea further. My most intriguing discovery this semester were my composite images, where I used automated Photoshop features in unintended ways to create composites of my classmates’ images. This technique was extremely exciting and fruitful for me, so I knew I wanted to find a way to combine the subject matter of female perception with the techniques of my Content-Aware Hijacking. I found my solution by creating composite images of “the old ideal”, the pinup girl, and “the new reality”, the everyday woman.
The subjects in my photos are average, Pennsylvania residents of ages from 20-60, spanning the spectrum of womanhood. They are single, married, divorced, and widowed. They all come from different ethnic backgrounds and are of different races. Some are slim, some are full-figured, some confident, and others shy. Most were cooperative, while others “ain’t got time for this (expletive)”. But all twelve women shared one quality that their pinup counterparts blatantly lack—they are real.
I chose to pair the women with images of pinup girls because I began to find that in each image, this pairing had a slightly different effect. In certain images, the models seemed to be channeling the sex appeal and confidence of the pinup girl. In others, the models appeared to be disapproving of the pinup girl’s disregard for decency. Each conversation brought new dimensions to the project that went beyond my original intent of just comparing ideal to ordinary.
The purpose of this assignment is to remind my viewer’s that although we may never be as flawless, prim, skinny, or well-endowed as the imaginary women idealized by generations, we are always one step ahead—we are real, and we possess dimension where these paintings fall flat.

Elevator version: This collection of composites explores issues related to the ideal woman versus the real woman by juxtaposing portraits with pinup paintings. I aim to remind the viewer that ideal does not always win.

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