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Petra Collins’ Coming Of Age
From Coming Of AgePhotography Petra Collins, courtesy Rizzoli

Petra Collins releases ten-year retrospective photo book

See the seminal photographs that made Collins’ career

Petra Collins is a name synonymous with the pastel-hued coming of age images that provided a visual guidebook for a new generation of feminists. The Toronto-born photographer first picked up a camera at 15 but her career went into overdrive five years later when an image of her in a green bikini bottom was removed from her Instagram. In response, Collins wrote a now-viral essay that was published on the Huffington Post’s websitetitled “Why Instagram Censored My Body”. It was a moment that kicked off a moment as a wave of women surged forward to gain control over their bodies, particularly in the media. They demanded to be behind, and in front, of the camera. And Collins was leading the way.

One of the images from Collins’ essay, a discarded bra, now features in her retrospective book, Coming Of Age. Featuring 150 pictures, the photographer shows off shots with celebrities, such as Selena Gomez, Tavi Gevinson, Zendaya, Kim Kardashian, but also those images that she first became known for – her inclusive and representative pictures of women and their bodies. With a foreword from Laurie Simmons and an in conversation interview with Marilyn Minter, Collins preludes the book by explaining it is “extremely personal” but adds “I hope when you at it you can see yourself in it, too”.

The book is split into sections that mark out her life and career, such as “Family Album” (personal photos), “Bed and Bath” (Collins’ early works that focused on “quiet realities”), as well as various fashion shoots, “24-Hour Psycho” (her series on mental health) and “Home Again” (which details her return to Toronto).

From the photographer who, in under a decade, turned “female gaze” into a necessity, it’s a powerful look into what is actually, for Collins, just the beginning. 

Coming Of Age – published by Rizzoli – is available now