Jeanette May » Profile


Brooklyn, New York


Personal Statement

As a visual artist, I use a critical, sometimes playful, approach to investigate representation itself. My artwork often examines the use of visual pleasure and the power of the gaze in contemporary culture. Although I now work exclusively in photography, my background in painting informs the subjects I explore and my approach to art production. I “make” photographs: constructed, staged, lit, and carefully considered.

My photographic projects begin with a concern. I wondered how the Sexual Revolution impacted my mother and other working-class women in the 1960s. I observed the preponderance of female imagery in art and popular culture, and sought out depictions of men created for a female viewer. I noticed the conflicting media stories regarding infertility, IVF success, frozen embryos…and began researching the legal, scientific, and cultural concerns surrounding human procreation. I questioned the aesthetically pleasing presentation of murdered bodies in the litany of crime programs on American television and contemplated my own pleasure, intrigue, and repulsion. These interests lead to my examination of the visual imagery surrounding the subject and the creation of a visual response.

My photographs are planned. I “pre-visualize” as much as possible, while allowing for spontaneity, unexpected challenges, and happy accidents. I take notes, make sketches, research locations, organize people, buy props, and set-up lights. I am the artistic director, photographer, and printer of my images. My goals are to explore ideas that interest me, to create photographic works that engage the viewer through my use of beauty, color, and composition, and to provide enough clues for my photographs to communicate clearly. My work is a visual form of communication with an audience. 



Member for
10 years 22 weeks
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