Witch or Woman?

A collection of photos, depicting women in 16th century literature.

A picture of a woman, the light capturing only half of her face, making the other side unclear and very dark. Her hair is behind her shoulders exposing her neck which emerges from a sequined dress with puffy shoulders.
one dimensional

Women in medieval literature were typically one dimensional characters. They weren’t the hero or anything other than a trouble maker. They were depicted as pure and good or promiscuous and evil. They were one thing or the other. The lighting in this image shows only one side of the subject’s face to depict the lack of depth female characters showed.

The woman sits with her legs spread and her hands on each inner thigh. The photo is captured from above her. The dress she is wearing makes her masculine stance softer and less noticeable.
like a man

The subject is seated with her legs spread like a man. Her dress masks this positioning to some extent, representing a hidden strength. Her unseen abilities to think and act like a man but covered by societies needs for her to be feminine. An absent expression gazes off in the distance. Where her mind wanders only a woman would know.

A wooden table covered in magical little trinkets. Three tea candles scattered on the edges, four vases varying in size and height, three plush bags, a lantern a leather bound notebook, a wooden bowl with a honey stick and a flower inside, all surrounding a pair of hands. These hands are overlapping one another and the woman wears rings on both her index & middle finger as well as her right ring finer and middle finger.
healing hands
The woman gazes straight into the camera. She is standing slighting above the photographer making her look tall and strong. She has her shoulders straight and her hair is mostly in the back but some strains are falling forward. The background is blurry as she is the center of the focus and in the middle of the frame.

The position of the subject looking down onto the prospective of the camera shows the heightened standards male heroes are portrayed as in medieval literature. Head tall, shoulders straight, and battle ready to be fought in her eyes. She is everything she is yet everything she will never be.

At the wooden desk described in healing hands the woman sits in a floral dress that goes below her feet. She is in the middle of the wood looking over her shoulder. The camera can not see her face, only her body which is facing forward. Her hair falls forward as she looks behind her.
watch your back
The woman sits in a chair unaccompanied by anything else except the woods surrounding her. Her right arm is slightly bent grasping her dress at the mid thigh, her left arm falls behind her. Shoulders straight, she looks down at an angle towards her left foot. The dress reaches the ground. The dress has a v shaped torso giving a subtle witch like look to her.

“having qualities or an appearance traditionally associated with women, especially delicacy and prettiness.”

The woman in the same position as the last image pulls the dress at either side of thighs. She looks directly at the camera with a blank face and angry eyes.

“the advocacy of women’s rights on the basis of the equality of the sexes.”

“Feminism is a range of social movements, political movements, and ideologies that aim to define and establish the political, economic, personal, and social equality of the sexes.”

NOT feminine, BUT feminism.

The woman stares directly into the camera. Her eyes are full of emotion, some sad, some mad, but mostly asking for help with out saying a word. Her hands are positioned in the shape of an x across her mouth.
her place

Be seen not heard. Your voice doesn’t matter. You don’t have a vote. Silenced by men, to protect their egos. Her eyes scream louder than her vocal cords could – muffled by a male thoughts.

The woman holds a Oujia board Orcle to her right eye with her right hand. It enlarges her right eye while the left side of her face is exposed to the light.
magic, witchcraft, or woman
The photographer is positioned below the woman so the angle is looking up on her. She is on a slight left angle. Her shoulders are back, her chin is held high, her eyes look to the left. Her hair is behind her showing her strong facial expression. The woods blur behind her as she is the center focus of the frame.
If Beowulf was a woman

Strong stance, bold shoulders, witty, yet kind, courageous and ready for battle. Just the day in the life of a woman every day.

5 thoughts on “Witch or Woman?

  1. Wow. WOW. I really loved this project. One of my main goals when reviewing and looking at others’ projects, I wanted to go all the way back to the beginning of this section of the blog and I definitely can say I’m glad I did! Not only the accuracy and understanding of what you said and proved, but also the pictures really made a powerful impact. Literally, my only question is not criticism, but rather: where did you get those pictures?? Are they you or someone you know? If it’s you or someone you know, I would KILL for some pictures like that! Absolutely beautiful.
    It’s difficult to portray what you’re talking about with a subject, even if somewhat straightforward, like feminism. But you really added to it with those pictures, because it cleared up your point and made it easy for me to understand it more than I might have without them. Your last statement: “If Beowulf was a woman” was VERY powerful. That also related to me the different statements saying “what if such and such person was a women INSTEAD of a man” and in some minds it would change for the worse but more than likely for the BETTER. As Ariana Grande said; “if God was a woman…”
    Lastly, I wasn’t sure if you did it on purpose, but the size of the pictures in comparison of the text was smart too (even if you didn’t do it on purpose). It makes them stand out even further than before, even more so with the black and white pictures. Very well done with this!!

    1. Hi! Thank you so much for this comment it really made my day! So at the top of the porject there is a button that says download, that is an audio file of me explaining almost everything you brought up! The person in the pictures is my best friend and I was the photographer! I explain in that audio clip the impotrance of light, angles, and how my friend is standing to send these messages! I think I am going to do something similar for my next project using photography since this one went well!

  2. Your last piece is particularly stunning, but her face in every photo looks so genuinely pissed off that I can’t help but smile. “Heroine” makes me wish I had thought to collaborate with you – in my unessay, Beowulf is a woman, but I used generic stock photos because I have no props and it feels so silly now, especially seeing your fantastic work. Your audio made me feel a lot better about looking through your project, so thank you for including it. Before I clicked it, it felt like I was snooping through someone’s camera roll and it made me a touch nervous, but hearing you talk through your process really helped (I just have anxiety, nothing against your layout. Also your subject being so beautiful and exuding Xena vibes doesn’t help, but that’s no one’s fault). I can’t wait for your next project – this one turned out so beautifully. Truly fantastic work! 😀

  3. wow! This is so beautiful I love it so much. The pictures are so powerful and the writing is so interesting and thought provoking. I loved this little passage
    “Be seen not heard. Your voice doesn’t matter. You don’t have a vote. Silenced by men, to protect their egos. Her eyes scream louder than her vocal cords could – muffled by a male thoughts.”
    This really spoke to me and it perfectly represents the place of women in medieval society and literature. Witches in these tales are depicted as evil handouts characters, yet it just represents men fearing strong powerful women.

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