Teen photographers from The Lower Eastside Girls Club of NY and their sister programs work with re-appropriated pink prom dresses to produce a quirkily surrealistic feminist photo statement.
Featuring: Las Fotos Project, A VOICE, Club Balam
Presented and Curated by
Lower East Side Girls Club
In the space between marching and marketing, stands the teenage girl, absorbing multiple and conflicting messages coming at her from all directions. She is as confused as the rest of us about what the future holds. Truth be told, while there are finally significant conversations and actions being taken to address historic gender inequities, Disney, Barbie and the rest of the plastic toy and cheap clothing merchants have deeply colonized our minds, defining for most young girls what a princess is and does long before she owns her first pink dress.
Yet for all that product ‘pink’ being pushed on her, she instinctively knows that she is being targeted in problematic ways. How do we know that? Since our founding more than 20 years ago, the Lower Eastside Girls Club has held an annual Gowns For Girls / Prom Dress giveaway. We receive hundreds of brand new high-end gowns every year from a few generous manufacturers, and promote the event as a way to save money for more pressing needs, like college tuition. And every year, at the end of a high energy day of pure and free fashion joy, we’d notice a curious fact: left on the racks after all the other dresses were tried on and ultimately sent home with a satisfied ‘customer’, were a few lonely pink dresses. Clearly not deemed appropriate prom wear, they held lots of promise as costumes and props for a zillion zany events: community street fairs and marches, reconstructed fashion items, fantasy photo shoots. When we took the ‘pink’ to the streets, we got noticed. The power of pink worked for parties and protests, art and activism.
The surreal, whimsical photos of girls in frilly, pink gowns—New York City girls sweeping the streets with a taxi cab in the background, or the Chiapas-based Maya girls leaving their cornfields with hoes slung over their shoulders—reminds us less of a scene from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs than they do of a staged shot from the oeuvre of the playful work of the Argentinian photographer Marcos Lopez, or the moodily weird fashion shoots of Deborah Turbeville, which is exactly the point. “The Power of Pink” is a photography project that demands young photographers pay attention to the politics of daily life.
In this photography series, we are excited to share the work of the young women photographers from Las Fotos Project in Los Angeles, California, and of A VOICE (Art Vision & Outreach In Community Education) from the Two Eagle River School on the Flathead Reservation in Montana.
The Lower Eastside Girls Club (LESGC) connects girls and young women to healthy and successful futures. For more than 20 years, the girls club has operated in-depth photography education programs with national and international youth partner organizations. Our state of the art digital labs offer over a dozen classes a week in digital media. We train the next generation of art and documentary photographers, with a strategic focus on social justice issues.