Dina Litovsky’s “Untag This Photo”

Dina Litovsky, a Brooklyn based photographer, recently sent us a look at her new project Untag This Photo, a complex project looking at the role of pictures and feminine exhibitionism in modern society. Litovsky writes: “Instead of an instrument of voyeurism, the camera becomes a welcomed participant.”

I think there are a lot of interesting issues at play here: the omnipresence of cameras and the changing perceptions of posing and being pictured, alongside what are acceptable public (or are these private?) exhibitions. These lines are blurring, and it is great to see photographers exploring this territory. I’m sure all of us who have social media accounts can relate to wanting to ‘untag’ pictures of ourselves for a variety of reasons, whether our friends took the picture or we showed up in someone else’s images.

But I think we should leave it to Litovsky’s statement and her pictures to be our introduction to this discussion. I look forward to seeing feedback on this project.

“For the last few years I have been photographing the New York City nightlife in its different incarnations- clubs, lounges and bars, as well as parties – both public and private. During this time I observed the focus of the events shift from partying to photographing the partying and became fascinated by the often exhibitionist behavior of women in this changing social context. This project is my exploration of how public behavior and personal representation have been influenced by the accessibility and availability of electronic media, specifically digital cameras, iphones and networking sites.

In one form or another, self-representation of women has been linked to exhibitionism since the Flapper age. Women’s compliance to adjust to the ever-changing ideals of beauty has been evolving hand in hand with an eagerness to showcase the results. In the digital age, this has become easier than ever. Enabled by the new technologies and encouraged by the Lady Gaga-like conception of femininity, the desire to reveal has transformed into a willingness to expose. With this, self-representation of women has reached a curious state, one where women are both in control of their image and at the same time, participate more than ever in their own objectification.

Social networks provide a perfect platform for wide and instant exposure and familiarize the mainstream audience with overtly sexualized behaviors that in the past have only been permissible in the contained settings of Spring Break or Mardi Gras. Cameras, ever more compact and omnipresent, are increasingly admitted into heretofore ‘private’ realms: late-night dance halls, erotic events, even in the bedroom. Instead of an instrument of voyeurism, the camera becomes a welcomed participant. The women photographed are not just permitting but actually performing for the camera; it connects them, the virtual exhibitionists, to a vast anonymous audience.” – Litovsky

2 Responses to “Dina Litovsky’s “Untag This Photo””

  1. Sarah

    You can definitely see the changing dynamic of parties/concerts where people constantly take pictures (on cameras or phones) of their friends/strangers/themselves and almost instantaneously post them on social network websites. It becomes the norm. People do not shy away from such “intrusion” anymore, but actually seek it. It becomes sort of a vicious circle – people see fun/sexually charged photos of their friends on their facebook page and, not to be outdone, follow in their footstep. The new technologies just make it so easy and effortless that it seems natural. Only later some will see themselves in compromising situations and will sometimes ask their friends to untag their photos. But it does seem to have the most pronounced affect on women – they become more and more liberated in their behavior in light of photographer’s flash. It almost empowers them and lets them if only for that moment to become stage performers, not for the sake of attracting men, but for their own indulgence.

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  2. Brat

    I wonder if people are going to parties more often now since it gives them the opportunity to show off not just there, but in virtual world. Love the photos and the title of this project!

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