March 2019 // Shot by Hanna Finch

This shoot was a collaboration with Raleigh-based film photographer Hanna Finch. My concept was inspired by film noir and the work of Cindy Sherman, particularly her Untitled Film Stills. I still remember sitting in an art history class years ago, and seeing them for the first time on the overhead projector. I was instantly riveted, and I've wanted to emulate her ever since. These images aren't self-portraits like Sherman’s, but it still means something to me that women were on both sides of the lens.

I'm interested in film noir for a lot of reasons, one being that it centered women in film in a way women had never been centered in film before. Noir feels defined by its women the way westerns are defined by their men. Nothing else produced in that movement remains as iconic to me as the imagery of the powerful starring women. I think part of its staying power lies in the fact that it's so full of contradictions. There's both glamour and grotesqueness to the fear of the women of early horror and noir. One minute they're desperate damsels, the next cunning femme fatales, and they're always sort of toeing the line between authenticity and not only acknowledging the camera but winking at it in a way that undermines any imminent danger.

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