Petra Collins’ visual guide to girl power

The artist and her all-female art collective The Ardorous take on the publishing world, and redefine the word ‘babe’

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Babe, Petra Collins, Prestel, Dafy Hagai, Dazed
Photography by Dafy Hagai, courtesy of Prestel

“Strong. Independent. Powerful – and ready to take the world,” says photographer/filmmaker Petra Collins. She’s defining her idea of the word ‘babe’, which just so happens to be the title for her latest book, a culmination of some of the art world’s most exciting female names – 30 to be precise, all members of her collective The Ardorous – including Dafy Hagai, Arvida Byström, Harley Weir, and Collins herself. Rookie founder and editor-in-chief Tavi Gevinson’s seal of approval appears as the book’s foreword. The book aims to prove that feminism doesn’t have to mean sexuality, with a curated series of images exploring notions of camaraderie, alienation, nostalgia, and social media, to name a few – all filtered through a pink pastel sheen. Reclaiming the word babe from catcallers and misogynistic context, we ask a selection of the book’s artists to define what it means to them.

"My first associations with the word ‘babe’ were probably via lines from the movie Grease, but now I see it most commonly used among my friends or girls online complimenting each other on how they look” – Tavi Gevinson

“'Babe', you say to show that you are on someone's side and to show you like their vibe” – Arvida Byström

"'Babe' is something I would say or think about someone that owns their style and attitude" – Dafy Hagai

“Something undiscovered and alluring; like the cool, mysterious new girl who shows up at your high school halfway through the semester” – Julia Baylis

“'Babe' – the visualisation of ideas relating to a woman” – Nakeya Brown

“'Babe' is a confident and powerful (not a girl, not yet a) woman” – Mayan Toledano

“A 'babe' is someone who is in control and thus simultaneously free.  A babe is no baby!” – Joana Avillez

“To me a 'babe' is someone who is mysterious, magnetic, and attractive in unconventional ways. The moon is a good example of a 'babe'” – Beth Hoeckel

Babe, published by Prestel, is available from 1 May, 2015

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