Campus Only Senior Thesis
Bachelor of Arts
Ken Gonzales Day
My work explores themes of supernatural alternate universes and humans interaction with nature. Using the medium of photography I strive to create impossible realities, juxtaposing the real and the imagined. My work portrays mystical women interacting with surreal environments and seeks to portray the simple act of existing nature as a magical and spiritual experience.
As a female artist my work has often been criticized for being too beautiful and for this reason, void of substance. I believe that beauty has inherent value and goodness. My photos celebrate the beauty of female strength and the unmarred landscape. The mirror to me represents negative stereotypes of superficiality attributed to women female created art. Male painters and photographers thought history have become famous for portraying the passive female form. However, selfies or other images taken of women and by women are considered exercises in vanity. This series seeks to challenge that narrative.
The mirrors in my images add depth to the piece, showing a perspective one would not see otherwise. In most images the mirrors obscure the subject and reflect the environment she is in, uniting women with nature, and revealing something deeper within the subject. Photographs are taken far away from civilization and are not preplanned and are constructed without the use of elaborate technology. My practice is rooted in exploring, discovering new landscapes and new ways to photograph them. My work is notably not manipulated in photoshop. All of the seemingly impossible elements of the pieces are created in camera using mirrors and strategically placed colored camping lights. This lack of manipulation is intended to challenge the idea that images reflect unadulterated reality. It is also to contradict the idea that anything impossible must be photoshopped.
My work is influenced by magical realism as well as surrealist photography. As a female photographer working with female subjects it is important to me to escape the traditional relationship between active artist and passive subject. Each photo I take is a collaboration with my female subject as well as a collaboration with nature. Through my photos I seek to emphasize a non objectified female form as she interacts with nature and portray my subject as a magnetic and powerful force uniting in spirit with her natural environment.
Goldbeck, Justina, "Beauty is in the eye of she who holds it" (2018). Scripps Senior Theses. 1173.
This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.