Margaret-Belle de Jour II

Margaret-Belle de Jour II

My work as a photographer focuses on portraits of women that are used as a vehicle to explore and challenge deeply entrenched standards of beauty. I am interested in images that are imbued with sensuality and render my subjects physically and emotionally compelling.

In 2002, I created the first Belle de Jour series, which is a photographic portraiture project depicting women in various states of undress, masquerading different roles. In continuity with my longstanding interest in the human portrait and the female figure, Belle de Jour II once again focuses on women as my primary subjects and explores ideas concerned with age, beauty, sexuality and female empowerment. My aim is to emphasize plurality and difference by photographing an array of women from various walks of life and age groups.

Women existing in a state of psychological and physical individuality are presented to invite the viewer to contemplate and consider the underlying tensions between vulnerability and strength, awkwardness and grace, and naturalness and self-possession. The images I chose to work with aim at capturing the body in all its shifting beauty and portray my subjects in bucolic landscapes, lush gardens, studio settings and intimate environments. The portraits are studiously staged from lighting, sartorial choices, to backdrops and mise-en-scene.

Belle de Jour II is an extension of the original series and a more in-depth study of contemporary representations of the feminine.

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