Q&A with Imogen Crew
on the occasion of 3×3: An exhibition of nine women photographers
New Art Projects, London
11 January – 4 March 2018
McNay: What are the key concerns or themes running through your practice?
Crew: Portraying images of women comfortable in
their own skin.
How much a part of your work does self-portraiture form?
IC: I use images of other women to portray my view of myself.
Self-portraiture is not a main focus of my work.
As a woman looking at a woman (herself – but perhaps also other women, if you
also make portraits of others), how aware are you of the conventions and load
of the male gaze? To what extent do you work with or subvert these?
IC: My work is photographing women in fashion. I am constantly aware
the images will be viewed by straight women who subconsciously or consciously
dress to please men. The female gaze is the same as the male gaze. This means
straight women view themselves through the eyes of men.
How – if at all – does your sexuality influence or shape your work, especially
IC: A spontaneous self-portrait of me would be asexual, my sexuality is
not at the forefront of my mind all the time. At age 17, sexualised images were
very important on my journey of coming out. Now, at 22, this doesn’t feature as
prominently in my work as I am more comfortable with myself and my sexuality.
As a woman who likes women, looking at women, do you feel your gaze is
different from the gaze of a heterosexual woman artist? In what way?
IC: No. I don’t look at images of women in a sexual way. As a
photographer, I look at the composition of the image as a whole and not the
Can you say something about the work you are submitting for this exhibition?
How are you seeking to portray yourself? What are the key aspects you’re
drawing forth? Physical, psychological, sociological…?
IC: My self-portrait shows me, age 22, at home, relaxing.
Psychologically ok with my sexuality, physically comfortable in my space and
sociologically content in my work/flat/relationship and career. Being young and
gay in 2017 has its challenges. However, I know how fortunate I am – I haven’t
had the prejudice and persecution other gay/bi women have experienced. I still
have to protect myself at times from the gut-wrenching pain I feel when
disclosing my sexuality to new people. Although it’s been much worse in the
past for women, it isn’t easy being 22 and gay today.
AMc: Do you seek to portray yourself as object, subject, or both? How
does this dynamic come through in your work?
IC: I am subjective in this image. I have no axe to grind, no statement
to make, I’m happy…
Do you work in media other than photography? If so, how does the gaze offered
by the camera differ from the viewpoint obtained through other media? How does
the experience as artist differ? Does it make the act of looking easier or more
difficult? If you don’t work with other media, what is it about the gaze of the
camera that attracts you to working with photography?
IC: I prefer candid photography to any other medium because it captures
people (myself and others) in the moment.
What one work of art, depicting a woman as object – or subject, have you been
most influenced/impressed by and what is it about this work that captures you?
IC: I work in reverse. I create a piece of work and then look to see if
another artist has done anything similar to me.
Also published here