Copyright Vicky Martin ©
(great) Expectations is a series of portrait and still life photographs that explore the notion of conforming to the societal expectations of femininity. Through the portrayal of those roles typically perceived as belonging to women, the series aims to explore the conflicts that arise between an individual’s desires and those stereotyped as the feminine ideal.
The female protagonist in the portrait images searches for a sense of self and belonging through the pursuit of beauty standards held up as society’s ideals of perfection. The narratives convey the need to transcend these archaic expectations of femininity that enter into conflict with discovering a sense of self and what it means to be female. The still life photographs then compound these expectations that manage to exist with only the idea of the female, instead of a woman’s physical presence and her real, material wants and needs.
(great) Expectations is inspired by the 1950s, an era in which women were shaped into becoming a saccharine image of the perfect wife and mother, and thereby the perfect woman. The pursuit of this unattainable ideal of the female identity, often in reality, led to women experiencing intense feelings of loneliness and isolation. Such emotions lead to conflicting reactions of ambivalence and defiance as the protagonist is overwhelmed by the social pressure to conform to the female ideal. The narratives created in this series aim to convey how the claustrophobia implicit in such an era of superficial perfection continues to be experienced by the protagonist even in present day society.