Interview by Mia Kingsley
The Peachy N Keen duo have once again brought a much needed sprinkling of sugar and spice to the art world by organising an exhibition that, to put it quite simply, celebrates us girls. Whilst spending my Thursday afternoon in the Doomed Gallery hanging photos, eating cup cakes and constructing a pink sparkling piñata I found myself in awe taking in the astounding collection of portraits that lay before my eyes.
‘Girls’, a project that aims to bring light to our somewhat warped agenda of what the female form should be, with photoshop tainting our expectations and many an industry twisting the reality of beauty, we welcome Peachy N Keen’s latest wonder with bare open arms. Featuring an exquisite array of women photographed by 9 up and coming talented female photographers. All perfectly combined into a calendar ready for the new year of 2015.
I chat to the Peachy ladies Rhiannon Adams and Eleni Mettyear about their message, which photos they liked best and what ‘Girls’ means to them...
‘GIRLS’ was our opportunity to add a lil’ Peachy something to the on-going agenda about the female body. We wanted to do what we love to do (curate exhibitions and take photographs) and add a political twist. It was so important to us to represent a variety of girls and personalities. It is impossible to represent every woman within a 12-image calendar, or a 27-image exhibition – but there is one ideal shown in magazines and photo-shoots: we need to get rid of that.
The exhibition was everything we hoped for and more. The launch was an absolute ball, and the whole process was a fantastic learning experience about the female body. This exhibition isn’t just for girls, it’s for guys too. Everybody needs to change his or her perception of the female body and I hope that our exhibition helped whoever came move a little bit forward with that.
Out of all the photographs, whose did you personally love the most and why?
Matilda Hill-Jenkin’s work was so beautiful. She shot her sister in her Grandma’s bathroom (it has a hand-painted landscape painted on the wall!). Matilda shoots her sister a lot throughout her work and this image really stood out to us.
But all of the images are so important to our project. Each one tells a slightly different story about the girl in the shot, and the girl who photographed it.
Why do you think it's important for people, especially girls, to buy this calendar? What message is it presenting?
The images in this calendar are so beautiful. They’re shot by amazing women, of amazing women. That’s more than enough reason for people to buy/experience it. But the calendar goes beyond this. Each month is a reminder that women are more than that one ideal of beauty portrayed in magazines. These are empowering images for women and men! We want to help get to a stage where if you see a woman’s nipples, you don’t feel ashamed, or embarrassed, and seeing women different to that size-0 ideal is normal and accepted! This calendar is recognising new standards of beauty by completely abolishing those standards, and it will remind you of that every day in 2015!
You can buy the calendar online at www.peachynkeen.tictail.com - links are also on our website at www.peachynkeen.com . It’s £10 (+postage) for each calendar, and would make a faaabulous Christmas pressie!
Some of the photographers and models left messages themselves alongside their work, any in particular that you would like to share?
Here is a message from Deana, one of the girls that I (Rhiannon) shot:
“A culture fixated on female thinness is not an obsession about female beauty, but an obsession about female obedience"
A culture fixated on the media’s sexualisation of women’s bodies is shaming real women the moment they decide to take control over their own sexualities.
I refuse to be obedient. I will not see my body as an unfinished project.
I refuse to be sexualised. I will not be my breasts.
I refuse to be weak. I will not apologise for my strength.
Remember, the society has the power over you only if you let it.
Decide if you are enough
Here is a message from Jasmine who Eleni shot:
"Eleni offered me the opportunity to be a part of this calendar and exhibition. Amazing idea. Only catch was that this involved getting my kit off and posing for photographs (without sucking in!). I'm that girl who calls her friends and makes them remove photos of me in a bikini from holiday albums. I realised that I have to live by the things I rabbit on about in my yoga classes. This is my particular form of being courageous. Giving a big ‘f**k you’ to the critic in me that says 'people will say horrible things about you and your body because it's not hard and toned. For someone else ‘courage’ might mean talking to new people, learning a new skill, attempting a difficult asana. For me it's recognising that despite not being picture-perfect, I am strong and have a body that serves me so well and loyally; teaching myself to be proud of that and stop the endless and pointless comparisons. Yoga can change your body, but the most valuable way it does that is not necessarily physical. More importantly it has taught me that the physical body is just a vessel. We should be kind to it in thought and action. It houses our minds and our spirits. Let us find ways to be courageous in the face of fear and silence the voice that says 'I can't' or 'I'm not good enough' because you can and you are!"
From fruit punch to portraiture what was your favourite part of the night?
Definitely the piñata. The band Porter also sung an amazing a capella set for us which was beautiful!
S0 what's next for you peachy girls?
So once we’ve sent out all of our calendars, it’s onto 2015. We’ve got a couple of talks in the works, and we’re hoping to extend this project beyond our calendar. It’s such an important message and we’re definitely not done here. Another project in the runs is a global project, looking at what’s going on in the world in 2015 – more details will be released soon! We want to do more collabs, more exhibitions and more PRINT!
Thanks so much girls, we cant wait for future projects and piñatas!
I highly recommend the purchase of ‘Girls’, featuring never-before-seen portraiture by the likes of Francesca Jane Allen, Charlotte Rutherford and Matilda Hill-Jenkins, just to name a few, I guarantee you’ll be in for a right peachy treat!
Have a lovely week, Mia x