Maria Kapajeva “Interiors”

Maria Kapajeva

Born 1976
Estonia

Interiors 2012
London-based Maria Kapajeva produced a series Interiors  in 2012, it focuses on Russian women advertising themselves online for marriage. Posing half-naked in their homes, they mimic sexual poses most likely taken from Western mass media. Instead of showing the explicit detail of the women, Kapajeva has manipulated the images by covering the women’s bodies with patterns from the wallpaper or curtains from the same photograph, so they merge in with the background of their domestic environment. Appearing as cardboard cutouts, the poses are still easily recognisable, this method does thankfully, protect the identity of the women.

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These women want to stand out and be noticed, but ironically they conform to stereotypes of sexual availability and domesticity by all posing in similar ways. Kapajeva highlights the women’s domesticity by literally blending their bodies in with their home environments. Kapajeva says,  I saw that these women were trying to be noticed by men via their profile; to stand out.  Ironically most adopted a pose which made them fit the stereotype of their culture even more. Even in these pictures I saw a culture where women are seen as part of the domestic landscape in a variety of roles (sexy wife, dutiful mother, housewife, cleaner etc) but not much more”. [1]    

The digital manipulation of these images portrays the women attempting to attract attention by being distinctive, but what they are actually doing is highlighting and blending into their domestic lifestyle. We all tend to like to be ‘different’, Kapajeva says that often ‘different’ means ‘better’.  The focus here is on women in modern society and how cultural and social stereotypes are represented via mass media.

References
1. Kapajeva, M. (2012). Interiors. Available from: photoparley.wordpress.com/2014/05/13/maria-kapajeva/ [Accessed 20th January 2017]