Ola Hardiman, who is being depicted, is an incredibly intriguing Professor of Neurology, but that intrigue is not translated through the photograph. In exactly the same way as before, the photograph relies on added text, and an element staged by the photographer. What if I didn’t pick up the sheet of paper at the start of the show? I would have even less interest in these images. I would not know how interesting this woman was, and I certainly would not assume that she is a pioneer in a male dominated profession.
Several pictures later I came across my favourite image of the series, and my love of this image only intensifies the disappointment I feel when looking at the images around it. We are shown Polly Donnellan, a welder.
It looks like a bloke has been pulled out of his work boots by a big giant, and Polly has been placed straight down in them. The oversize, heavy workman’s gloves; the oversize, rigid factory apron; the oversized, disorganised warehouse. None of these things correspond with, what we would typically call, a woman’s job. And yet, despite this, Polly looks at such ease. Tranquil in chaotic surroundings. Polly is the embodiment of a woman breaking the stereotypes of both genders, and their historic roles. Moreover, because of the intriguing imagery, I didn’t need to read the accompanying text to see, or feel, her presence.
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