Saturday, April 26, 2014

Photographer Series #6: cindyshotkatemoss

Now that the easter egg hunt is over, we return to our normal programming ...

Cindy Hinant is an artist interested in representations of women in art and the media making her a natural to join the family! 
An image from Trampstamps, 2011

A great deal of Cindy’s art focuses on women taking or losing control of their own sexual image.  As an example, her series Trampstamps shows found photographs of Playboy tattoos that “signify that the wearer is not just a passive toy for the boys, but an active individual who claims her own status as a sexual object”. In the presentation of these images Cindy questioned “the notion that tattooing a logo on your skin is liberating, and (she) is suspicious of the idea that a brand devoted to men’s pleasure can symbolize empowerment and sexual freedom for women”. Her work has been exhibited widely including exhibitions at the Indianapolis Museum of Contemporary Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art North Miami and the Museo de Arte El Salvador. After learning of her work, and following on from Keren Moscovitch’s submission to iskm, I thought that Cindy would be the perfect artist to get us over the egg hunt!

iskm: How/why did you select the source image/s that you did?
Cindy Hinant (CH): I found images of Kate because I was googling 'celebrity upskirts'. 'Upskirting' is the practice of taking unauthorized photographs from below a woman’s skirt. In most of the US (and in many countries) it is legal and not considered a violation for photographers to take these photos as long as it is in a public place. These photographs function in a moral grey area as they can be viewed as candid shots that are an invasion of privacy by the paparazzi or as intentional actions performed by celebrities as a marketing strategy. A long time fetish genre, upskirting was popularized by Britney Spears and Paris Hilton circa 2006. Today it is more prevalent among “B list” celebrities and seems to be a rite of passage for child stars into adulthood. I think the upskirt is an interesting tactic for celebrities to develop their sex-icon image without being labeled as a 'slut'.

An 'upskirt' of kate that we will not do the honor of crediting
iskm: Kate poses naked often so there is an even stranger voyeurism at play in attempting to get an upskirt photo of her specifically. Why do you think this is?
CH: I can't say why Kate has taken so many upskirt photos, they could very well have been inadvertent (she wears underwear in most of them). The upskirt is not about nudity, it’s about being exposed. It allows for a voyeuristic desire which is much more subversive than any magazine spread. These photos are also “candid” in that they show us the “real” star, rather than the photoshopped version of Kate available in other media.

iskm: What did you do to your chosen Kate Moss image and why?
CH: Most upskirt photos are taken as the celebrity exits from a black town car or limo at night when they are most likely to be wearing some kind of short cocktail dress. I 'paint' the images black in photoshop, which unifies the series and flattens the background. I also flip the images upside down; it makes them difficult to read, and slows down the pace at which the viewer processes these images which I think gives more time to consider the strange phenomena of upskirting. I also find it funny to flip them … they are 'upside-down-up-skirts'.

iskm: In a very strange way, this voyeurism reminds me of Kohei Yoshiyuki’s “The Park”. I am repulsed by the original idea yet very much want to see your interpretation:
Some examples of Cindy Hinant's Upskirts (Kate), 2014
iskm: How do you feel your approach to photography affected your submission to ishotkatemoss?
CH: I’m not a photographer. I work with a lot of found images but I almost never take a photograph. I’m interested in representations in art and in the media that seem to empower women while effectively demeaning them. Often sexualized media personalities are presented as if they have taken advantage of the present gender biased culture that we live in and they are seen as empowered because they have 'chosen' to be objectified and thus seem to have mastered their sexual power for their own fame and success. It’s a way for a lucky few to take advantage of a corrupt system under the guise of 'girl power' while enforcing negative stereotypes. Kate Moss uses her body to her own advantage while perpetuating a system that discriminates against women. I don’t blame her specifically, but the culture of treating women as objects, of which she is a participant, is a problem. 

iskm: Which photographer/s would you most want to most see involved in ishotkatemoss?
CH: Ei Arakawa. Everything he touches turns into a beautiful poem. He did an installation/performance last year and one of the materials he used was trashy celebrity perfumes. I’m sure he could make a Kate Moss work that would make us all reconsider her legacy and our own.

Cindy’s work is fascinating and important. She will be featured in the forthcoming book New York, New Wave: The Legacy of Feminist Artists in Emerging Practices by Kathy Battista plus some of her pieces will be included in the upcoming exhibition Please Kill The Mainstream, curated by Giuseppe Ruffo and Pietro Tatafiore which is opening at the Galerija Zecevic on April 28th in Belgrade, Serbia. More information about these projects, and her work, can be found at

And like Cindy: Observe. Slow Down. Shoot. Submit.

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