The sixty-one slides that make up Women with Cameras are photographs of album covers, cassette tapes, magazines, posters or advertisements that depict women acting as photographers. By re-photographing these objects, Anne Collier makes the spectator aware of social and gender politics, as well as of the intensely produced methods involved in the making of the images. Although the women in the images are holding cameras, Collier tries to emphasize the way feminine beauty has been regarded traditionally by males. By photographing stereotypical representations of women, the artist removes the psychological power that they previously held, offering a new perspective.
Collier allows for photographs taken by “others” to express something about her, adding an autobiographical value to her work. The artist has mentioned feeling uncomfortable with appearing in her work, which is the reason why she began using found objects. These self-help tapes, album covers or magazines resonate in some way or another with her memories. In photographing them she finds a space between the universal and the personal, something that is related to her life but that would also function without her own story.
Women with Cameras does not only touch on subjects such as identity and feminism, but also questions the very essence of photography in the contemporary world. By re-photographing common objects, Collier invites us to reflect on the multiple layers of reality and perception, on how personal or subjective meanings are implanted in the images, depriving them of their original fictional character and seductiveness, and on how these images can be reabsorbed in order to create narratives of our own. [M. G. G.]