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Embracing femininity, oddity and violence

by Lillian Roy April 10, 2018
Embracing femininity, oddity and violence

Concordia photography student Lucy Stamler discusses her artistic inspiration

Concordia photography student Lucy Stamler combines elements of fear, humour and feminine prowess in her series titled Femme Fatale.

Drawing inspiration from the elusive divas of film noir, Stamler bridges the gap between reality and total whimsy. Many of her photographs feature young women dressed in neo-noir attire yielding weapons and other destructive objects.

“I want to explore the connection between femininity and violence, something often overlooked by mainstream media,” said the 20-year-old Toronto native.

Alluring and mysterious, Stamler appears to be something of a femme fatale herself. She is petite, with ivory skin and enormous blue-green eyes. Her face is framed by a roughly chopped fringe of jet-black hair, and her torso and stomach are decorated with black tattoos. Often the subject of her own work, Stamler emulates a delicate combination of fragility and danger.

Despite her bold and gritty appearance, Stamler is sweet, shy and gentle. At social events, she often lingers in the background, observing the scene around her through the lens of her camera. Although the majority of her work is staged, Stamler still enjoys producing candid photography inspired by her day-to-day life.

Stamler is somewhat of a femme fatale herself. Photo courtesy of Lucy Stamler.

“Wherever I go with my camera becomes my studio, whether that be the top of a mountain or my own bedroom,” Stamler said.

Much of Stamler’s work is created using her favourite 35mm camera, and she develops all of her film in Concordia’s darkrooms. When she does choose to stage her photographs, Stamler creates makeshift scenes and extravagant costumes, pulling much of her inspiration from film and television.

“I think mainstream media and pop culture play a huge role in our lives, which is something I very much want to embrace,” she explained.

Stamler gives topics such as femininity and Hollywood a surrealist twist, often with an unnerving and sometimes humorous finish. In one image of the Femme Fatale series, she and a friend pose Thelma-and-Louise-style, complete with a desert background and plastic guns. In another, Stamler poses with a black studded belt clenched between her teeth. A third image shows a model posing in black and white, with a steak knife pressed against her lips.

“I love how, through image-making, I can create alternate worlds that could never exist in the realm of reality,” Stamler said. “Self-representation and perceptions of gender and identity are themes I tend to focus on in my work.”

An avid sketcher and painter since the age of five, Stamler has long expressed a keen interest in art. Her relationship with photography and film began while making short movies with her sister. Later, in high school, Stamler took a black-and-white photography class, and said she truly fell in love with the medium.

“[I] became so enchanted with the camera,” she said. “Pursuing art just felt natural.”

Stamler also draws inspiration from artist Cindy Sherman, known for her conceptual and often politically charged self-portraits.

“After viewing her series, Untitled Film Stills, I came to realize photography is about more than just creating a pretty picture,” Stamler said. “[It’s] a tool to change perceptions of how we view the world.”

The living, breathing femme fatale can be found on Instagram at @helpimbleeding.

Photos courtesy of Lucy Stamler

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