Tomas Gunnarsson

The Gender Photographer

Images in mass media can be a conservative force in society – cementing narrow gender roles, stereotypes and ideas about who is “normal” and who is not. But images can also be used to challenge those norms, and make society more open, accepting and equal. This will be the topic of the lectures and creative workshops by Swedish journalist and photographer Tomas Gunnarsson, also known as the Gender Photographer. He will also present his photo exhibition “Images that change the world: a guide to equal communication”, created in collaboration with the City of Gävle and the Swedish Institute. 

 

Workshop 1, 10 October:

Gender-aware and norm-critical image analysis

Why can’t women drink liquid without spilling all over themselves? How come men never sleep in advertisements? In this interactive workshop the participants will get a theoretical toolbox from the Gender Photographer for how to dissect mass media’s gender clichés and norms through a rapid fire of eye-opening examples, exercises, and lots of discussion.

 

Workshop 2, 11 October:

Gender-creative portrait photography

Bring your camera or mobile phone! In this interactive workshop the Gender Photographer will show the participants how “femininity” and “masculinity” is constructed visually through poses, camera angles, lighting, looks and gestures, and how these categories are given the illusion of stability through repetition. But the clichés can be inverted, parodied and subverted, all to free our imagination about ourselves and remind us that we can be whoever we want to be.

Tomas Gunnarsson will not be attending Open ArtFest in the flesh due the ongoing pandemic, but will be present on a big screen via his home studio in Stockholm. In the venue, however, will be his and the Swedish Institute’s photo exhibition Images That Change the World, brought to Moscow in collaboration with the Civil Rights Defenders and Open ArtFest.

Tomas Gunnarsson: “We have plenty of pictures of how the gender roles ‘should’ be played. Pictures that limit us all. But we can create new rules. We are more fluid and changeable than we think. To show that this is possible is my primary goal as a gender photographer. To tickle our imagination about who we can be.”