The naked human body strikes the audience. Always. After all the years of liberation movements, emancipation and censorship attenuation, it never fails to shock and amuse the viewer… particularly the depiction of a female body, which has been a center of controversy for years. While in the past it was banned, nowadays it remains among the delicate topics in art that somehow still manages to perturbate society.The work of Kristina Podobed thrives off this dynamic.
The Ukrainian-based photographer started her journey as a personal struggle with shyness. She took photos of her friends and herself, gradually realizing that there is much more that has to be said. Her images allow imperfections and silliness, she portrays girlhood with the unprejudiced eye of the insider. Being open to the world, to come as you are – this struggle is real, especially in the modern media-influenced society. Kristina Podobed shifted her focus towards more broad, but not less important topics turning her art into a kind of social mirror.
Youthful and intimate pictures of girls deconstruct the conventional vision of women, obligated to look modest, nice, and polished. Pushing the boundaries of the “acceptable” depiction of women, Podobed is not shy about any aspect of human physicality and nature. Her pictures were banned from social medias numerous times, which just proves the relevance of the issue to the world we live in today. This discourse is especially pertinent when taking into account artist’s Eastern Europe origins. In the post-soviet reality women are still under the influence of the past ideology, which tells them to be quite, neat, and to keep it to herself. But nowadays, the youth is changing, shaping the future of the whole country. Kristina Podobed reflects these transformations, presenting the world with the new generation which is trying to be brutally honest and free.
Ms Podobed continues her artistic pursuits, concentrating on the social photography, depicting people and their environment. Coming back to the point of controversy linked to the depiction of female body, we can say that it is closely related to artificial notion in our heads, that had been embedded a long time ago. We are surrounded by the turmoil of distorted images produced by glamor magazines and advertisements; we bear the heritage of the patriarchal social order which has ruled the world for ages. No wonder it is hard to deconstruct such deeply rooted stereotypes, which were supposed to disappear under the equality and feminism, but in reality are still fueled by another value systems. Photographers like Kristina Podobed help reclaiming the women’s body giving fresh and truthful ideas of self-identity to the upcoming generations. This is how the future is done in the world of art.