Caroline Tompkins

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Caroline Tompkins
2017 Annual Juried Competition
Honorable Mention

Fantasy Bond is an exploration in gender construction, fact and fiction, and desire with a female critique. Men in the gaze are historically the property of male homosexuality — objectification is the equity of men. A woman’s attraction is often sabotaged as images of male physicality and vulnerability default to men performing for other men. Women are then subjected to making something imperfect or even ugly to distinguish their work from iconic lust, while still trying to make the camera fall in love.   The photographs create an illusion of connection, infatuation, and closeness which proliferates the bond one has with truth in image yet the emotional distance and inconsistency of the illusion demand that the viewer break their trust. A constant push/pull between expectation and reality creates a climate of anxious romance. It relieves loneliness, but is ultimately shallow. I set out to trace over myself, remove myself, and be left with totems of identity.   Courting the territory between fear and fetish, I’m forced to recognize the latitude of my desire —  to be of and to have. The men, most photographed in my bedroom, are to pose in their fervor while being placed in a space I have created. I am at once in power by my control of the image, yet inferior by my fear of the subjects themselves. The viewer questions whether I am exploring my sexual desire or shooting the enemy.

Originating from Ohio, Caroline Tompkins received a BFA in Photography from the School of Visual Arts in New York City. She has exhibited nationally and internationally, and her work has been featured on BBC, Al Jazeera America, Huffington Post, and The Fader among others. Her photographs explore issues of female sexuality, localism, and sincerity within them. Caroline currently lives in Brooklyn, NY working as a freelance photographer and photo editor at Bloomberg Businessweek.

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