Silent Health

  October 1992

Image from Silent Health exhibition at Gallery of Photography October 8 – 24 1992

Women, Health and representation sets out to examine how images do- and can – influence women’s attitudes towards their bodies and their health.

What makes women ill? Why, in modern times, do so many women continue to suffer in silence from preventable diseases? Silent Health assumes that for many women, health and ill-health are not biological ‘givens’ but complex states arising from a web of social, psychological and environmental factors.

The four female photographers in this show were commissioned by Camerawork Ltd, London to explore dimensions of femininity and health.

Melanie Friend’s sensitive color portraits challenge the way that society has rendered women of menopause age ‘invisible’. Friend’s work, comprising of photographs and soundtrack, presents the views of a diversity of women- from Barbara Cartland to Kailash Puri.

Kate Musselwhite’s magazine and poster project subverts the form, style and content of mass-media images of sexuality and health. Her magazine parodies women’s journals in order to draw attention to the way in which we absorb advice about our health.

Claire Collison’s photomontages are a personal exploration of modern stress-related diseases such as ME. Her symbolic imagery visualises how societal pressures and personal exceptions have contributed to women’s vulnerability to such forms of ill-health.

Janice Howard’s photo-installation concentrates on historical myths that patriarchy has spun around femininity. Howard uses the photographic medium to reveal that such narratives are fabricated, rather than natural.