I think one of the primary reasons photographers do what they do is because they want to convey a meaning.
Whether that meaning is intended to move the viewer to act. Or to manufacture an emotional response Or simply put a smile on the viewers face. There is always a preordained reason that the photographer attempts to craft. And Morgan Ford develops meaning by scrutinizing — the commercialization of a woman’s self-image.
“… women act out beauty rituals ingrained in American culture with products that are sold in advertisements.”
Ford’s meaning is that this culturally ingrained idea of beauty is unattainable. By the average woman.
LBTL: What does it mean for you to be a Latina Photographer?
MF: This is an interesting question. With my mother being Puerto Rican and my father being white, I grew up just identifying myself as white. It wasn’t until college that I began to research Latin photographers and look at the issues they faced and addressed in their work. I think that addressing multicultural issues, whether it be in my own work or by researching the work of others, is vital in understanding photography today. I would say today I identify myself as a multicultural photographer.
LBTL: Has being a “double minority” in the photography industry been a positive or a negative, for you?
MF: The photographic world has changed significantly in recent decades, and there are many multicultural and female photographers who are responsible. I have been fortunate to come into contact with some of these amazing people through organizations like En Foco and the Society for Photographic education, so my experience has been a positive one.
LBTL: Who has influenced your photography?
MF: There are many people who have influenced my photography over the years. Some of the photographers who have significantly impacted it are Annette Messager, Barbara Kruger, Carrie Mae Weems, Lorna Simpson, and Imogen Cunningham, just to name a few.
LBTL: Why did you chose to focus your photography on the social pressures of women wrestling with their self-image?
MF: This is a topic that is personal, as well as something that I feel is important to others at this time. I have felt since I was a girl that the images we are faced with everyday are presented an image that, for most, is unattainable. I tell myself everyday that I don’t have to look like the women staring back at me from a magazine or on TV, and yet still there is a compulsion to attempt to look as they do.
LBTL: When you are teaching photography at the Vincennes University – what are the 3 most important things your students must learn.
MF: While teaching at Vincennes University, the three most important things my students must learn are:
- How to convey meaning through a photograph.
- How photography will play a part in their life, whether it is their profession or hobby.
- How does their work relate to historical and contemporary photography.
Call To Action
It’s a struggle for some photographers — meaning.
Why? Because in part meaning is subjective. Our reactions to imagery are in part based on our collective experiences. So what one viewer sees as handsome, another may be horror-struck. But no matter the result.
It’s the creatives responsibility to pursue that which she finds meaning in. And to allow the viewer to connect with the image as they feel fit.