+March 18, 2020
Los Angeles photographer Amanda Rowanâ€™s (@amandarowanimagery) theatrical and colorful tableau style work, Ritual is an exploration of being a woman while considering the act of seduction, mysticism, and traditional mating rituals. Photographed as both self-portraiture and still life using large format film and digital cameras, Amanda sets up scenes where we see various body parts giving an element of humanity to the object(s) pictured. Throughout the series we never see the subjects face, yet she exudes traditional feminine physical traits. The subject becomes her own muse rather than posing for the voyeuristic view of an audience. Amandaâ€™s inspiration for this series came from various sources including 1950s food photography, Dutch paintings, and vintage burlesque performance. The series uses the creation of colorful and intricate floral designs by Floral Stylist Marisa Bosquez-White @floresdebosquez.
Amanda uses humor and camp throughout her work. The process of performance in creating an image is interesting to her. Ritual was photographed with the camera acting as the â€śaudienceâ€ť. The clothing and props used in the making of the series are from Amandaâ€™s late grandmother, adding an additional layer of personal connection to the work. Amandaâ€™s images use the female body, floral designs, clothing and props while possessing varying forms. Each of the images, through Amandaâ€™s visual narrative represent a ritual or traditional feminine sexuality being captured.
By pairing these pieces with symbolic organic matter, I am examining the history of conception, domesticity, and matriarchy within my personal and family narrative.
In the image titled Grand Finale the scene is set up as a theatrical performance in its eccentric grand finale, also meant to look like the female reproductive system. The subject is wearing a feather boa and the roses in a vase are inferred to symbolize passion, true love, romance and desire. She is seated with legs wide open and green velvet fabric covering the rest of the body. The green velvet symbolizes fertility. In each of her hands are half of a papaya, the seeds visible, as if the arms are fallopian tubes heading to the ovaries. The image is meant to convey two visual ideas into one, the performance aspect and the grand finale during the act of sex, orgasm.
Amanda grew her photographic roots shooting rock concerts while attending high school. Amanda is the daughter of Grammy winning Bluegrass and country performer, Peter Rowan. Amanda is a graduate of Tisch School of the Arts at NYU and has won several awards including Photo District News - The Curator Award 2019, and International Chromatic Photographer of the Year 2018. Her work has been exhibited widely and published internationally at Art Basel, the Wall Street Gallery, the Leica Gallery in Los Angeles and others. Amanda has created images used in campaigns for clients including NBC, HBO, and Disney. In addition to her client work and personal projects, Amanda teaches full time at the Photo Arts Conservatory at the New York Film Academy Los Angeles.