Emerging photographer Hazel Steel is exhibiting her work here at The Strand Gallery as part of RAW Format’s exhibition. Her striking visuals deal with elements of femininity, fragility and escapism.
Hazel’s shots work along the very strong theme of women in today’s society, and how women feel about their bodies. Hazel’s fascination of human form, and the emotions of movement and posture are apparent through this collection of photographs. One of the key elements of this series is the confluence of fragility and strength, and Steel wanted to draw attention to to this idea, creating images which almost defy logic – where a split second becomes an eternity.
Inspired by artists such as Francesca Woodman, who also worked with the idea of identity within the nude form, Steel sets herself the challenge of completely exposing herself both physically and mentally. Steel has been noted as saying that the idea she always came back to within this project was the idea of escaping. Be it escaping the everyday standards of feminine beauty which bombard us at every turn, or escaping reality and the everyday lives we lead.
The use of powder in these shots is implemented as a way of allowing the viewer into the situation, but keeping them behind a barrier, at a distance from the physicality of the action depicted. Steel has found a strong turning point in her own work through post-processing and editing. Through burning, highlighting and desaturating she has managed to create something almost other-worldly.
“This project has allowed me to expand my knowledge in photography, in myself and the way I feel about myself, and the work I produce. Initially I started off trying to communicate a message to the audience, a message I was trying to convey using my own body. However, as the project has progressed, it has become a lot more focused on learning about how I feel about myself personally, and creating a surreal space for me to escape. This is not the end of this project, I am not the only one who has body issues and is in need for an escape from the harsh society which we live in today. By creating visually stunning, entrancing images, I feel that it helps women overcome the pressure that they receive everyday to be a certain type of beautiful.”
– Hazel Steel (source).
RAW FORMAT can be seen at The Strand Gallery until the 22nd June.
More information about Hazel Steel and her work can be seen on her website.