It is a fascinating time to be a visual sociologist. Social media combined with new sense of sexual exhibition has created a growing viral population of on-line participants, including every teenager with a camera. New York photographer, Dina Litovsky, examines social performances and group interactions in public and private spaces, and she comes to this territory well equipped. After growing up in the Ukraine, Dina received her degree in Psychology from NYU, and then received an MFA in photography at the School of Visual Arts in New York.
Her new series, Untag this Photo, looks at how women in particular are behaving in public and on-line.
Untag this Photo: For the last few years I have been photographing the New York City nightlife in its different incarnations- clubs, lounges and bars, as well as parties – both public and private. During this time I observed the focus of the events shift from partying to photographing the partying and became fascinated by the often exhibitionist behavior of women in this changing social context. This project is my exploration of how public behavior and personal representation have been influenced by the accessibility and availability of electronic media, specifically digital cameras, iphones and networking sites.
In one form or another, self-representation of women has been linked to exhibitionism since the Flapper age. Women’s compliance to adjust to the ever-changing ideals of beauty has been evolving hand in hand with an eagerness to showcase the results. In the digital age, this has become easier than ever. Enabled by the new technologies and encouraged by the Lady Gaga-like conception of femininity, the desire to reveal has transformed into a willingness to expose. With this, self-representation of women has reached a curious state, one where women are both in control of their image and at the same time, participate more than ever in their own objectification.
Social networks provide a perfect platform for wide and instant exposure and familiarize the mainstream audience with overtly sexualized behaviors that in the past have only been permissible in the contained settings of Spring Break or Mardi Gras. Cameras, ever more compact and omnipresent, are increasingly admitted into heretofore ‘private’ realms: late-night dance halls, erotic events, even in the bedroom. Instead of an instrument of voyeurism, the camera becomes a welcomed participant.
The women photographed are not just permitting but actually performing for the camera; it connects them, the virtual exhibitionists, to a vast anonymous audience.
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