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Nina Parsons
Photography Nina Parsons

Rethinking the female figure in the 21st century

This photographer takes apart the classical, unreal femmes of mythology to explore identity and self in today’s world

The female figure has been immortalised in art for centuries: from the Aphrodite and Sleeping Venuses to the 19th century salon nude. In classical art, we see the sculpted, sexualised but sanitised woman. LCC graduate Nina Parsons’ latest project Hairy Legs and a Golden Goblet takes inspiration from Greek mythology, she says, to “look specifically at how the atrocious female figure is being portrayed”.

“With a satirical approach, I recreated these figures in a modern world, thereby taming their powerful attraction and making them into comic representation of the femme fatale,” Parsons explains. “By making the images extremely colourful and kitsch in their construction, I have gone against the notion of classical art contextualisation, and created a complete opposite to the representation of the aesthetic classical art of the Renaissance.” She plays on the trope of the dreamy, unattainable female and repositions her in an absurdist environment that shows her true self.

Parsons’ accompanying project Hide investigates the female figure in a domestic environment, exploring the themes of identity and self. Hide has a double meaning: it examines the neutralisation of self, and what’s really left underneath when we hide our identities. Parsons says: “It raises the question of what we become if we strip away everything we know about an individual, and instead morph into the trivial objects that can be found in a common household.” She uses kitchen foil, bubble wrap and baking parchment to showcase this: domestic items that can paper over what personality we have left.

Check out more of Nina Parsons' work here