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Laura Aguilar’s Transgressive Photography

by | Dec 16, 2017 | 0 comments

Without words Laura Aguilar’s photographs have broken a big silence across marginalized communities. The images that she produces represent a community that has been invisible in the arts, not only queer, brown, and female, but also large. The ability to claim identity is empowerment, and although Aguilar does not seek to define Chicana lesbian art, she does challenge viewers to reconceptualize constructs of race, class, gender, and sexuality, particularly patriarchal constructs of art that seek to romanticize or idealize the female form. Laura Aguilar’s photographs of female nude forms in the natural landscape represent a vision of the female body that directly shocks the viewer’s expectations and desires. It is through these aesthetic manipulations that Aguilar achieves self-acceptance of her own body, a body may not be considered “beautiful” or “fine art” because of how it opposes a Western aesthetic of “feminine beauty.” Patricia Valladolid

UCLA Center for the Study of Women, CSW Update Newsletter

The Transgressive Photography of Laura Aguilar

Laura Aguilar b&w self portrait

Challenging Perceptions for #SoSS

For today’s Share Our Shit Saturday post, I am simply featuring a single photographic artist, Laura Aguilar. Normally, for #SoSS, I’d be sharing several of the best posts from sex-bloggers for the last week. Unfortunately, I’ve been skipping from one illness to another for the last 6 weeks. I just haven’t felt up to doing much.

With all of that in mind, Laura Aguilar’s photographic work is fully worthy of being featured for #SoSS. Her artistic photographs are beautiful, meaningful, and quite original.

Her photography challenges in a number of ways, but most of all, I think it challenges perceptions. I’m not sure that others have categorized her work as being transgressive, but that’s the word that comes to mind when I start to absorb the images Laura Aguilar has created.

transgressive art from Laura Aguilar
I have to say it’s really great to encounter a photographer whose work is outside the stick-figure norm that is so prevalent. I’m not a skinny stick figure guy, so it’s good to see bodies closer to my own than to the usual ‘Skinny-Minnie” look.
Hyperallergic.com logo

Matt Stromberg - Hyperallergic.com - In Honor of Laura Aguilar, Artists Consider the Role of Queer Art

Photographer Laura Aguilar’s bold, fearless works foreground the identities and experiences of often marginalized groups: women, people of color, and the queer community, while celebrating bodies that fall outside a narrow idea of beauty.
Laura Aguilar landscape portrait

About Laura Aguilar

Born in 1959 in San Gabriel, CA, Aguilar lives and works in Rosemead, CA, outside of Los Angeles. She has studied photography at East Los Angeles Community College and has participated in the Santa Fe Photographic Workshops. She has received grants from Art Matters Inc., LACE, the California Arts Council and Lightworks. She has had a number of solo exhibitions at venues including the Los Angeles Photography Center, CA; LACE, Los Angeles, CA; Highways Performance Space, Santa Monica, CA; Zone Gallery, Newcastle upon Tyne, England; and the Fundacio la Caixa, Barcelona, Spain. Her work has been included in many group exhibitions, including Sunshine et Noir: Art in L.A. at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Denmark; Sexual Politics: Judy Chicago’s “Dinner Party” In Feminist Art History at the Armand Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA; In a Different Light at the University of California, Berkeley; and Bad Girls at the New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York. She also participated in the Aperto Section of the 1993 Venice Biennale.

Photographer Laura Aguilar has investigated portraiture since she emerged in the late 1980s. Her stark black-and-white photographs document subjects whose images and stories are under-represented in mainstream culture—people of color, gays and lesbians and large people. Her portraits are known for their collaborative sensibility—the subjects are encouraged to investigate and negotiate with the artist from both sides of the lens. In the late 1990s, Aguilar turned the camera on herself, making dramatic nude self-portraits in which her body is contrasted with the rough terrain of the desert landscape and in which the body and landscape become one. The works continue her efforts to challenge societal assumptions about beauty, offering an alternative to the airbrushed, artificial depictions of women generated by advertising and media.

Source: Laura Aguilar » Artpace

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About The Author

Michael Samadhi

Michael Samadhi - Joy of Kink Editor - author, lifestyle dominant, sex blogger, sex educator, photographer, artist, pansexual, sapiosexual, polyamorist, audiophile, historian, pagan/Buddhist, former political activist, and community organizer. I tied up a girlfriend (consensually) the first time back in 1980, and it's been a hell of a ride ever since.

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