Hi there! My name is Madison Somerville and I have been using photography as a means to interpret the world around me since 2011. I have always been creative; I won my first art award at age six for a pair of shoes I made out of paper. It wasn’t until my dad gave me his old camera that I found my ideal creative pursuit.
That digital camera quickly turned into a film camera and, since then, I have worked with analog photography as my primary medium. In 2014, I graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a Bachelor of Arts in Studio Art.
My first major project involved documenting the underground heavy metal music scene in Austin on black and white film. This project is called “Kids of the Black Hole” and consists of images of friends and acquaintances at metal bars and shows beginning in 2012. Check out some of these images here or on my other instagram account.
While my photographs have changed significantly in style, the common ground is that I have always photographed what feels intensely personal to me. When I moved to Austin, I did not know a soul and was quickly accepted into the metal family. I truly discovered myself in this supportive community. It was only by feeling supported and nurtured that I had the courage to seek out different avenues of creative fulfillment.
As I started to feel strongly about the #metoo and feminist movement, it was through the strength and confidence I had gained from the metal community that I felt able to pursue this new passion.
I recently moved from Austin to Asheville, NC. This move is something that I have wanted to do for some time now but didn't for a variety of reasons. I have finally gotten to a point in my life where I refuse to be afraid and refuse to not put myself first. So, I am hiding away on the mountain to focus on myself and what is important to me. I am exploring all of the things that I didn't make time for while in Austin and reconnecting with what matters. I am grateful for a new beginning.
My focus now is on contributing to the feminist movement, with photography as my primary outlet. Research is an integral part of my process.
What was it like to be a feminist, historically? What does it mean to be a feminist today and how can I practice feminism in my daily life? What is meant by intersectionality and privilege? How has art been used to inform and educate people about the feminist agenda?
By seeking answers to these questions and many others, I hope to form a well rounded view of what it means to be a feminist today. Being knowledgeable about this informs my work and helps make it more compelling while reminding me that mine is but one perspective.
Although we have made great progress, feminism is still very relevant today. Women are still paid less than and are less likely to be promoted than men. Discrimination against trans, nonbinary, queer, lesbian, or nonconforming females is still very much an issue. Rape victims are often not taken seriously or blamed for what happened, not to mention that rape culture (catcalling, sexual harassment, jokes about rape) is still, on some level, considered acceptable in our society.
My hope is that anyone who believes in feminism and equality for all people will display my photos in their home or office as a reminder of what we are fighting for and of what is important to them.
Society needs more women leaders, we need equal pay, we need to take rape, rape culture, and sexual assault seriously, and we need to stop telling women that they need to look a certain way to be beautiful. Let my image be a daily reminder that every inch of ground we gain as feminists get us that much closer to our goal.
All of my images are photographed in my studio, on my Pentax 67 or my Mamiya RB67, in editions of 4 originals of one size. They are printed on cotton rag paper and mounted to Dibond, an aluminum composite, for strength. Visit my shop for more details or sign up for my email list to keep up with new work.
20% of all sales is donated to Our Voice.