Untitled (Bondage Set II)

From Bondage Set I:     

Through a series of self-portraits taken in-studio, inspired by vintage fetish pornography, Pop Art, and commercial photography, I strive to examine the commodification and consumption of the female body. Full of iconic symbolism such as food, mirrors, bondage, and specific textiles, this series uses an awkward humor to both poke fun at and bring needed attention to the ways in which women metaphorically and literally contort themselves to fit the expectation of attractiveness and constant sexually appealing self-presentation. As a young woman, living so frequently feels performative and this experience shines through in these hyper-saturated, nearly saccharine self-portraits. With these photos I create advertisements for a cookie-cutter desirability to the male-gaze that, when donned like a costume, leads to a sort of uncanny valley of sexuality.

This second set of photos inspired by vintage fetish magazines continues with Set I’s themes of the consumption and commodification of women’s bodies. This follow up series is simultaneously more playful and more concerning. The strong gaze and confrontationally bright colors demand attention, mimicking the perceived necessity of being visible and desired. The increased occurrence of food as aspects of the compositions draws a straight and humorous line to consumption, while also nodding to the notion of being “lady-like.” With the textiles acting as snares, barriers, and binding and the mirror playing its classic role of a self-reflective symbol for both Babiak and the viewer, this second set of bondage photos fits snugly in with the rest of Babiak’s recent photographic work exploring identity, self-presentation, self-perception, all with overt feminist overtones.