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Our first vagina festival

Vagina Festival 2007 was visual and performance art experience, that took place over the weekend of Feb 16-18, 2007. It was a part of the VDay Worldwide Campaign to end violence against women and girls. We did have some important conversations there. We didn’t go far enough. I mean I didn’t.

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global feminism for my 13-year-old self

I didn't discuss this with anyone. I figured I was supposed to handle it on my own. As if the male non-menstruating, etc. bodylife was the norm, and we shouldn't bother anyone about all the other female stuff we experience. 

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NoChoice Travel

At the core of democracy and basic human rights, is sovereignty over your own body. No woman or child should be forced to carry a pregnancy to term.

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Independence day

I don't know about you, but I have spent way too much time letting a culture of bullying women into silence undermine my ability to simply show up for myself, for what I believe in, and want for us.

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Save the date

Over the course of ten years, I photographed over 100 vagina portraits.

I wanted us to see for ourselves, that we are indeed unique and interesting. To deliver the message that how you are is how you’re supposed to be. Because it’s normal that we are all different.

I shot from the point of view reserved for gynecologists and lovers (sometimes). The images are square and a little larger than life to properly extend the invitation to look. Because I don’t think we really really look at each other. Slowly. Openly. With interest in the other. So, this is a chance to try that out. To take your time.

There were no stylists, no details about the model to set the mood for fantasy or to objectify us—just the everyday vagina in plain view. Each strikingly unique. I did my best to keep myself out of it. To make some initial decisions about the composition and then get out of the way, and let you see what you see for yourself.

The normal is diverse exhibition takes place on Saturday, 08-Dec-2018 from 4-8pm at Ludlow Studios, 40 Ludlow Street, NYC 10002. Ludlow Studios is both a photography studio and an exhibition space. I have to say, it’s an ideal venue for this exhibition. It’s roomy and kind of cozy at the same time. 

This will be the first time the v-portraits have been exhibited since 2010.

It’s free, but space is limited, so RSVP to save your space.

vagina vérité is a collective mirror of our individuality, expressed through an endlessly interesting aspect ourselves, the faces of our vaginas.

It raises a lot of questions.

It’s an opportunity to have conversations we don’t usually get to have. Out loud, or privately. While viewing, or later. Or not. It’s personal, yOur experience. Come by and see what you think, and feel.

It’s for my friend. I don’t believe I’ve properly answered her question yet.

It’s for, and about, women. Everyone who is interested is welcome.—Alexandra

 

Moving toward respect

I think to do that, to get there, we have to really see ourselves and each other. To look slowly. And repeatedly, and to tell stories. Reveal experiences, fears. A lot of it's about pain. I was reading something Sean Penn said about containing the #MeToo movement, reframing it into something less black and white: he said it was divisive. That it was coming between men and women.

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Women making v-portraits

The women who made v-portraits with me ranged in age from 19-60. They may, or may not, have been comfortable with their bodies, or familiar with their vaginas. There were no requirements in order to pose, other than to be over 18. I don’t know what their sexual orientation was, or whether they’d ever given birth, or had sexual intercourse—unless it came up in conversation, and if it did, I didn’t make a note of it.

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Sexual, not erotic. What do you think?

In my living room, I had a wall of close-up documentary-style photographs of vaginas, framed in 8"x10" document frames.

The everyday vagina in plain view.

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What it must have felt like to feel safe in a crowd like that

It's not that I expect violence in every crowd, it's a habit of vigilance and guarding against that you build up over time. A little extra weight that you carry with you everywhere. You get used to it.

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The unique story of each of us

When I look at the vagina portraits, I see landscape. Human landscape. We are each a world.

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Letting it pass

I figured early on that it was a matter of gender, or religion, that kept the conversation just this side of hostile all that time, but I averted my eyes. I've seen that expression of disdain before, and I just didn't want to deal. I told myself it was temporary and not worth confronting.

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For years, my apartment was vagina central

For years, my apartment was vagina central. At about 30 v-portraits, I began exhibiting. I previewed vagina vérité® on its own, and as part of group shows. The exhibitions and events explored a range of themes relating to women’s bodies and how we feel about them and what that means for our quality of life.

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This was not what I expected I would be doing

It just happened like that. She asked me if I liked the way my vagina looked, a friend of mine, and I heard it as soon as the question mark hit the air between us.

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