This is an on going practice -  led research project  started within the context of my studies on the

                                                             in the University of Lincoln (UK)

and it focuses on the hybridisation of

performance & photography

in order to explore ways to confront implied phallocentrism within the practice of photographing.

 

VULVOgraphy

Photography from a female point of view


 

 

A quest to re-examine the often (in)visible phallocentric world of photography from a gynocentric point of view.

 

I take as my start point an examination of the culture surrounding  contemporary photographic practice and the competitive nature of the tools of the medium - bigger lenses are better, high quality equipment is a synonym for professional and jargon can be used as both defensive tool of the male realm and weapon {and therefore enforcer of power} of the culture of photography.

 

The symbolic gesture of removing the lens and separating it from the body of the camera (act of castration) opens new possibilities to revisit the process from a different perspective.

 

However, the scope of my research is not just to address and question the masculine and phallocentric attributes of the photographic apparatus but also to respond, revisit and propose an alternative, original way to confront such issues through creative practice.

 

The use of my vulva and vaginal orifice relied on three reasons. Firstly, I sought to challenge the somaesthetics of the hidden photographer behind the camera, who avoids exposure and vulnerability. Secondly, stemming from the position that the vulva is not only something to be looked at, correspondingly passive, but also something which is “looking back” too. Thirdly I wanted to investigate the validity of the symbolic replacement of the phallus with the vulva, whilst looking at issues of ownership and empowerment; two terms that often are linked to the female body.

 

Starting again from the roots of photography I have devised a gynocentric view of practice. My approach is naive in a creative sense : eschewing high-end digital equipment and precision optics in favour of a more grounded and back to basics pinhole camera and chemical process. In (re)developing my feminine image-making machine, I challenge the subject of the image to confront the gynecentric form-factor (labia, vulva etc) as co-performer in a durational sense whilst the vulvographic device looks-back : photography from the cunt's-eye-view.

 

I present  my research alongside a live-action performance to reveal an alternative photographic process  - from composition and shooting through chemical development and finally onto display as artefact.

 

“The completed pinhole camera and image undoubtedly reflect its maker’s thought process” (Renner, 2009, 99).

 

V(ULV)amera is

an original,  hybrid, vulvophilic,   performative camera, abstaining from high-end technology and super-telescopic lenses without "lacking" anything  in terms of function and performance. Its apparent simplicity belies its sophisticated delivery.

Furthermore, it's designed to offer an unconventional experience to both photographer and subject while taking a photo from cunt's-eye-view: something
that you won't find in the established market.

The focus during the VULVOgraphic session is on the somatic experience and the relationship of both photographer and subject. However at the end of the experience, there are produced two kind of VULVOgraphs :

 

 

*V negative*

 

 

This is the original photo created with the V(ulv)amera:  negative B&W round photo  approximately  2cm .

Used technique: pinhole photography and chemical development in a dark room.

Not reproducible

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*V positive*

 

 

 

This is the positive image of the *V negative* -usually dispalyed in one of the vulva frame artefacts -

photographed and processed digitally.

Reproducible

 

 

EVENT 30.05.2015

"VULVOgraphy: Becoming a camera"

a photo-performance installation

 

EVENT 30.07.2015

"Long Exposure"

a photo/video installation

 

PORTFOLIO 2015

LIMITED EDITION IN SALE

 

PORTFOLIO

  • A book 158 pages ( Hardback with printed cover, matt uncoated paper, 21x21) - including DVD with vide0 from the process, interviews and experiments.

  • Brochure of exhibition - including DVD with excerpts from performance/exhibition: "Becoming a camera"

  • 34 pages Photo book catalogue (18×18cm) woth 28 vulvographs.

  • ARTWORK: Vulvamera (internal-external body), manual,

  • Aluminium Tool Box (310x240x130mm)

 

PRICE: £300

for more info contact: feniakotsopoulou@yahoo.com

An immense gratitude to all the people who were involved, supported me in different ways, helped with feedback and inspired me in this amazing and challenging journey of exploration, learning and creativity. Special thanks to my mentor Pavlos Kountouriotis for his support, constructive feedback and guidelines during this long-term process and my partner Daz Disley for his daily support, assistance, contribution, care and trust. Also many many thanks to Aylwyn Walsh, Julia Metzger-Traber, Kostis Kotsopoulos, Dimitra Kotsopoulou, Karolina Szewczyk, Alkistis Olympiou, Faye Johnson, Jenny Church, and... the list is long!