“Pretty Woman,” is a black and white photograph that utilizes the rule of thirds to accentuate the face of the woman in the photo. The audience watches her from behind the blinds of a restaurant as she sits at a café table with a man. His back is to us as their conversation takes place, life continuing to move all around them.
This photograph is so simple in nature and gives the viewer the feeling as though they are watching a secret moment. The subtlest yet striking thing about this piece is the woman’s eye. The framing of thirds allows a section of the blinds to perfectly frame the woman’s left eye. Without this small attention to detail the photo may not have been as striking.
The mastermind behind this photograph is Donna Ferrato. “Pretty Woman” is just one of the pieces in Ferrato’s Tribeca 10013 collection. This collection showcases the way Tribeca has started to evolve. The Tribeca 10013 collection is a series of photographs outlining this change and showcases the new swanky cafés and the destruction of old buildings as the old Tribeca is replaced with the new.
Ferrato’s work is currently being showcased in Hofstra University’s David Filderman Gallery as a part of the March series “Women in Contrast” in celebration of Women’s Herstory Month.
She is not the only photographer featured in this exhibit. The gallery also includes Berenice Abbott, Marilyn Bridges, Dorothy Norman, Imogen Cunningham and other contemporary female photographers. Within the gallery there are 33 photographs, which were chosen from Hofstra University’s collection of 900 photographs.
These specific photographers were picked because of their wide range and variety of subjects. The subjects within the pictures range from landscapes to society’s outcasts, challenging the societal assumptions about what a “feminine” image should look like.
Diane Arbus’ photographs focused on those who were considered society’s outcasts. One of the most prominent pictures in the collection is the photograph “A Young Man in Curlers at Home on West 20th Street, NYC.” As the lengthy title suggests, the photo is of a young man in curlers.
He stares into the camera with a portion of his face shaded by darkness. His mouth is slightly ajar as though he was in the midst of speaking or taking a drag of his cigarette that is clutched between two well-manicured fingers. Everything about the man goes against what society has deemed “manly” making this photograph feel taboo for its time period (1966).
This gallery is proof that female artists don’t always create what society has deemed “feminine” art.
To see both Arbus and Ferrato’s work, along with the work of other photographers, the David Filderman Gallery (located on the ninth floor of Axinn Library) will be showing “Women in Contrast” until Aug. 18, 2017.
This article was updated Thursday April, 20 2017 to include a photo correction.