Photographing the Female is part of Mumbai’s FOCUS photography festival, it breaks down what it means to be female in modern day by depicting women from all over the world through powerful imagery.

Bringing together artists from 17 different countries it examines what it is like to be a woman. The transnational project explores the diverse role that females play in global society. Each identity captured is unique, as we see various representations of contrasting cultures through the lens.

Curator and Danish photographer, Sarah Julie Ege Høilund said, “In society, I conceptualised Photographing the Female because I think it’s essential that we continue to push female narratives to the forefront of social storytelling.” She continued, “It’s about understanding that the concept of the female is totally fluid but that it’s still impossible to escape societal notions and ideas. Also, in a world where images and information are exchanged everyday it seemed pointless to limit the project to photographers from just one country. My friends Matilde Søes and Poulomi Basu (whose work are in the show) helped me get the project to where it is now and at its core, it’s all about collaboration furthering understanding and tolerance.”


Prarthna Singh, Sakshi. Image from her series The Wrestlers, 2015

“Living in India comes with it own share of social pressures and vulnerabilities, which are imposed, assimilated, and lived with varying degrees of severity. I have had the privilege to be surrounded by some incredibly strong women in my life who continue to remain a source of inspiration to me and to the work I do.” Prarthna Singh, India told i-D.

“The world itself is diverse, there are different races and regions. I think we can only see a small part of female stories each time. But generally, I feel that there are not enough stories told. Besides, artists are very often limited by their own restrictions and regional morals. But I can see there are interconnections among different artists and portraits of female experience all over the world and a common mindset to empower the female. Hopefully, this adds to the diversity we can see and feel.” Luo Yang, China told i-D.

The exhibition offers a unique insight and narrative into women’s roles in society. It deconstructs gender boundaries and offers fluidity with no restriction, no right or wrong. The portraits are disparate but coherent as they all offer complex portrayals of the contrasting experience of womanhood.

The exhibition runs from March 9 – 23 and is part of the FOCUS festival, find out more on their site.

Words Madeline White