Humans are born either male or female depending on their sexual organs. While there are specific biological functions connected to those organs, it is society that assigns distinct, opposite behavioral standards, mores, and roles for each gender. These are portrayed as outgrowths of biological differences and considered normal. However, gender roles are socially constructed not biologically determined. My thesis work Desired Absence: A Woman's Perspective explores the themes of gender and violence using photography and video. The body of work includes two components; a series of seven silver gelatin mural sized photographs of the human face, and a single channel video loop. The video depicts a jack 'n' the box toy juxtaposed with violent scenes from Hollywood films and Super 8 clips of a passive naked male body. The photographs show the human face and use selective focus, shaved heads, fragmentation of the face and body, large scale, and the close-up to explore gender and its relationship to intimacy, violation, violence, power, and control.
Library of Congress Subject Headings
Portrait photography; Photography, Artistic; Video art; Androgyny (Psychology) in art
Department, Program, or Center
School of Photographic Arts and Sciences (CIAS)
Dominick, Heather, "Desired absence: A Woman's perspective" (2001). Thesis. Rochester Institute of Technology. Accessed from
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