This was the first work of art from this series that I was really pleased with.
I love flowers and find them to be very feminine. See my post about my process for more info on that. I would say, as a general rule of thumb, that I incorporate something living (or that used to be living) in many of my photographs. I think it adds a richness and fullness to the images. I arranged these flowers in the vase and then rotated them until I liked what I saw. The branch reaching out towards the candle was inspiring to me.
Candles and the act of burning feels purifying. The first several photographs had the candle lit but I needed to leave the room in the middle of the roll of film and when I blew it out, I realized that was what was missing in the art.
The silver container belongs to my mother, as do the pearls. Pearls have been traditionally considered feminine and thought to symbolize purity. My mom, sister and I all have the same wooden heart.
The moon clock was given to me by my sister years ago and to me symbolizes the cycles of the moon, menstruation and how the moon has traditionally been viewed as feminine.
I use scissors quite a bit in my images which to me signify cutting ties with my past beliefs as well as things that have held me back.
The title I came up with while thinking about how women are told to smile or that "you would be so much prettier if you smiled" and how we don't owe prettiness to anyone.
My process is really much more fluid than this academic description lets on. I don't overthink the arrangement. I often go into the studio with an idea of the message I want to depict but then often put on some music and go with the flow. I try to stay open to what thoughts or feelings or messages might come up and adjust my vision accordingly.
Disclaimer: When I say that something is traditionally considered feminine or in the realm of the female, I am by no means saying that men shouldn't or can't or don't partake in any of these things. I am simply referencing how things have been or are perceived. This is my interpretation only.