Image: from Evangeline Davis’ book ‘Touchy’.
Evangeline Davis is doing everything she can to re-assert femininity. Photographing women across New Zealand, she’s collated both her experiences and her learned philosophies into a beautiful, important book entitled Touchy. In her own, illuminating text:
As a teenager I enjoyed spending time on my appearance, for the most part. Surrounded by idealised beauty standards from mainstream media, popular culture and social platforms I felt the pressure to continue this regime. I felt that if I stopped wearing makeup it would seem as if “I’ve let myself go”. It became a daily routine. I began shaving my body hair – not because I wanted to but because of the social expectations that I didn’t question, but also never understood. If I complained about the way I looked, I was told I was being silly, superficial or seeking attention. If I didn’t care for my appearance I was treated differently, not taken seriously. Things went unspoken there was no pleasing. My mind was manipulated by manipulated imagery. Though these are my experiences they are widely shared.
Touchy confronts a distorted reality by challenging homogeneity. It embraces a continuum and captures post-pubescent perspectives of femininity that transcend the struggle and shame of conformist ideals of beauty into a celebration of diversity.
Catalogue: You’ve just finished your final series for university ‘Touchy’, can you please tell us what it’s all about?
Evangeline: Touchy captures post-pubescent perspectives of femininity that transcend the struggle and shame of conformist ideals of beauty into a celebration of diversity. It reflects on a period of life, relatable beyond the ages of these subjects; using features of body hair, stretch marks and menstruation to question societies selective censorship of truth. I traveled throughout New Zealand and shot with over sixty female subjects.
Catalogue: You are wanting to challenge homogeneity in this series, is this topic something you will be wanting to continue to explore in future work?
Evangeline: Definitely! There are so many things I wished I could include in this series, but simply didn’t have the time or the confidence.
Catalogue: Are you working on any exciting projects currently?
Evangeline: I’m working on several publications that are showcasing at Wellington Zinefest!
Catalogue: What are your future plans now that you have finished university?
Evangeline: After graduation I’d like to continue this series internationally.
Catalogue: What other photographers are currently inspiring you in your work?
Evangeline: Corinne Day, Lina Scheynius, Petra Collins, Mayan Toledano.
Catalogue: What are you most looking forward to for Summer 17?
Evangeline: Longer and lighter days <3
Catalogue Girl: Evangeline Davis @madam_evangeline
All Photography by Evangeline Davis @madam_evangeline