Confronting, Eye-Catching and Intense: Jamie Dela Rosa's Photos are More Than Just Pretty

Confronting, Eye-Catching and Intense: Jamie Dela Rosa's Photos are More Than Just Pretty

7th October 2014 // By Maureen Huang // Film & Photography

Have you ever walked into a room plastered in genitalia and skin? Neither have I. But if you wanted a lower-key version of the intimate imagery above, maybe Jamie’s work will do just the trick. And there’s an added bonus for you, not only will you be able to look at her work in all its glory, they’ll also make you think. YES! I said think. In a world where you’re confronted by thousands of images a day, it wouldn’t hurt to think about what you’re looking at.. once in a while.

Jamie Dela Rosa aims to create photographs that are a concoction of in-your-face images, which make you question your view of gender and power. This Sydney based artist uses the different mediums of photography, collage and illustration to express her beliefs and where better to exhibit her thoughts than through her artworks. “I guess I usually tend to create works that are politically charged: I’m a feminist, I believe in equal rights and people power”.

Although some artists love to ornament their works with written background stories, Jamie lets her photographs speak for themselves. “I don’t like to talk about what my work is (about) as I don’t like to give it all away. It really takes away that magic the audience experiences when they first look at the work or what they get out of it with their own perspective”.

Take a look at ‘Men are men’ for example. Are men really men? No I don’t mean to go as far as to say that men are a completely different species, but are men just confined to being masculine and are women just confined to being feminine? I think that is the question proposed here when looking at the series of photographs.

On the surface, what’s portrayed is a diverse range of men, placed in front a playful floral background. We see the juxtaposition of feminine and masculine characteristics and are left to quietly ponder about the idea of gender representation, and its powerful influence and circulation in the media. Then we go back to the question again, are men really just men? (Well at least that’s the impression it left on me when I saw it exhibited in its grandeur a few months ago).

Not only is Jamie’s work packed with conceptual punch, the process she undergoes when creating her pieces are equally significant. “(Men are men) was my grad show work for my diploma and (with help from a friend – Jasmin Cuenco) we installed a whole wall with the background of the series. The dedication to the individual men and the gay community, the hard work it took to make it happen, the incredible people I met and the feedback on the work made me feel like I was home. That’s why I love what I do. It makes me feel like I’m home.”

We all have trials and tribulations when perfecting our trades, and Jamie isn’t an exception. “Wrapping my head around what I’m trying to say would be the biggest challenge for me and executing it in a way that I’m happy and proud of. Getting started is also a challenge haha, include it with the deadline, busy schedules, etc”.       

So let’s clean up a few cobwebs in ye olde noggin and delve into a pit of gender conundrums. If you like what you see here and you’re in the mood to look at some more wittingly upfront photographs, check out more of Jamie’s work here.

Image: Jamie Dela Rosa