Graduation Year

Spring 2013

Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Susan Rankaitis

Reader 2

Ken Gonzales-Day

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© 2012 Devin Grenley


First Semester:

My thesis project is about showing women’s empowerment through their sexuality and comfort within their bodies own bodies. In our society women’s eroticism is seen as taboo and women are taught to turn away from the exploration of the erotic as a source of power within themselves. The erotic is often confused and misunderstood, it is an emotion and sense of empowerment that has been named by men and used against women. It’s now difficult to recognize that the erotic can even have a sense of empowerment for women, because strong women have been taught through our society to be viewed as dangerous. As Audre Lorde, a feminist writer states, “The erotic is a resource within each of us that lies in a deeply female and spiritual plane, firmly rooted in the power of our unexpressed or unrecognized feeling. In order to perpetuate itself, every oppression must corrupt or distort those various sources of power within the culture of the oppressed that can provide energy for change. For women, this has meant a suppression of the erotic as a considered source of power and information within our lives” (Lorde). A woman’s strength comes from her sexuality. Once women begin to believe in this concept, they will begin to require this deep powerful sensation from all aspects of their lives and will not settle for anything less. Women should embrace their sexuality and use it as a sense of strength, instead of falsely believing that they can only be strong by suppressing this eroticism. My project is based on a collaborative experience with the models about what their sexuality means to them, and how they can show this through a camera. These photographs are meant to be raw and real; they are representations of real women who have chosen to show the viewers their own sexuality in the way in which they see best fits their sexual personality and comfort with their own bodies. The writings from the models on the back of the photographs show their own struggles with their sexuality. It may make the viewers feel uncomfortable, but this is the point. We are working towards being able to live in a society where women can be sexual if they choose to be. This is still a working progress, and having to view photographs that make one uncomfortable, may be the first step in change.

Second Semester:

Visual Poetic Abstractions: A Close Photographic Rendering of The Female Body:

My personal thesis project shifted after first semester ended. Second semester I decided to continue the question of the body, but step away from the cultural views and instead start to dissect the body in it’s natural form. The project is a close examination of the formalist aspects of the body, including a self-evaluation of what the body means to me. This project resulted in a series of close-up photographs that will help the viewer in seeing portions of the body in ways they have not before. Some photographs will even be unrecognizable as to what part of the body the photograph is representing. This is important because it leads the viewer to examine each photograph for what the beauty of the photo entails, and not for their previous cultural understandings of body parts prior to viewing. The idea behind the black and white photographs is so the viewer again dissects the photograph without the context of color – for example skin no longer can be recognized as skin when the color context is taken away from these photographs. Within this project, I have paid specific detail to the poetic formalist view of the body, dissecting different body parts to create awe and wonderment. The photographs are an anatomical view of the body in its most raw and poetic form.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.