I have to admit that I try to avoid the mirror these days. Getting used to a face that shows history and a life lived isn’t always easy, so I was intrigued by Stephanie Diani’s
project, Dames: The Legends of Burlesque
. The series features women whose identities are tied up not only to their faces, but their bodies and sexualities. Each woman continues to make an effort to exude intrigue and sexual mystery, no matter what decade they now occupy. It’s an interesting exploration of our cultural bias towards youth, and it makes one wonder: at what age does overt sexuality feel start to feel uncomfortable?
Stephanie is a Los Angeles photographer working as an editorial, commercial and fine art photographer. Her work reflects her enthusiasm for photography and life in general. Stephanie has scuba dived in Fiji and Belize; jumped out of an airplane; earned a black belt in Korean karate; graduated Summa Cum Laude with a degree in Classical Archaeology; taken trapeze, fencing, Spanish, French and Italian; met TomKat (briefly); bumped into Mr. T in her local Whole Foods and been swept off her feet by Fabio. And that’s just the beginning of the rich novel of her life.
Images from Dames: The Legends of Burlesque
The women portrayed in Stephanie Diani’s Dames: The Legends of Burlesque series have, in some cases, been performing for upwards of 50 years and still take to the stage on a regular basis. Diani’s images place them in their homes or, in a few cases, the hotel rooms they stayed in while performing in Las Vegas, and highlight their grace, courage and extreme self-possession.
Their beauty, while undeniable, most certainly does not fit into the culturally accepted standards seen in fashion magazines and on television. Shadows and light obscure and highlight different details in her images in order to invite the viewer into the photo to explore and to discover their own reaction to the subject matter and the subjects.