What can photographs tell us about the experiences of women in London? Shoshana Devora finds out at a new exhibition of Dorothy Bohm’s work
The art world isn’t always the most representative place. As in many, many other areas, if you go to a random exhibition, there’s a pretty good chance that the vast majority of work you’ll see will be by men.
To the Museum of London’s credit, when they recently held a photography exhibition, it dawned on them that they, too, were showing an awful lot of art created by men and not so much by anybody else. Therefore, in an active attempt to change this at least a bit, they commissioned a new exhibition, Women in Focus, showcasing photographs taken by Dorothy Bohm over the past couple of decades with women around London as the theme.
As an exhibition the necessarily focuses on the visual, Shoshana Devora found that its primary messages revolved around appearance and societal pressures:
For a show about women, I noticed that several of the photographs are not of living, breathing women, but instead of shop mannequins and Grecian statues – the images that women are compared to and contrasted against on a daily basis. In this way, Bohm’s work questions the common assumptions and ideals held up about women, asking not only what we should look like but also whether appearance trumps behaviour when women come to be defined.