Julia Luudens

1954

Untitled, 1975, dye transfer print 23x18 cm 
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Julia Luudens was one of the first ‘post-modern’ photographers at the end of last century that staged her photographs. As an autodidact, she played no role in the world of photography and worked completely intuitively. That may explain why her work is so different from other photography of the seventies.

This introduction of the work of Julia Luudens appeared in Haarscherp (1977)
 
Role Play

Julia Luudens directs scenes in which women play roles that are usually performed by men. At first glance, her photographs could be publicity shots or film stills. However, these genres have something to sell, while the work of Luudens moves against the pleasant and salable. She is inspired by cliché images as they are shown in magazines and on television. Due to the sex change, these stereotypical roles are emphasized and questioned. In addition, the viewer is made aware of manipulations that are being used to maintain the current situation, where the man is in control. John Berger writes in Ways of seeing that the role of the man is to act, that of the woman is to appear. Men look at women, women know they are being looked at. She is the bearer, not the maker of meaning. This pattern is dismantled in the work of Luudens. The man can not freely indulge in his role because he sees himself reflected in the picture. He can not see her in the usual way, as an object for his pleasure, but recognizes himself. In this way, Luudens destroys the pleasure he experiences by watching.