Exhibition 18 August - 11 September
After many years working as an actor, photographer and cinematographer, R.K. Petrusev was acutely aware that it wasn’t getting any easier for women in her field.
“There was always a snide remark about being an Australian female cinematographer,” she said. “And women were getting far fewer offers and opportunities than men, despite their talent and experience.”
Drawing on a long-standing tradition of women in creative fields who have resorted to using their initials instead of their first names in order to have a shot at success (J.K. Rowling, anyone?) R.K. decided it was time for her to do the same thing.
It was her experience of sexism within the creative industries that inspired R.K.’s photographic portrait exhibition, Women With Cigars.
“The cigar has such a strong masculine association; you hardly ever see women holding or smoking one.”
“I wanted to subvert the masculine image of a powerful man smoking a cigar. In fact, I think a man with a cigar these days is clichéd and pretentious. A woman with a cigar, however, is powerful because it’s unusual and interesting,” said R.K.
R.K. brought together a group of women for the photo shoot who represent the breadth of diversity in the Blue Mountains community, from politicians to steampunk writers to elite ballerinas.
“I am interested in how such a broad range of people end up in the Blue Mountains, and I wanted this exhibition to reflect our community’s diversity,” said R.K.
“I have chosen to photograph these women – all powerful, established women in their own right – posing with their cigars, in black and white. Black and white has a filmic quality for me; it focuses the audience’s attention because there is less to draw the eye away.”
“I hope the community will recognise themselves in these images, and celebrate the diversity and strength of women everywhere,” she said.
You can view the images from this exhibition here. Each image is available as a limited edition archival Giclee print; framed or unframed.
Women With Cigars will be opened by Trish Doyle MP - Member for the Blue Mountains and one of the subjects in the exhibition - on Friday 18 August, 5.30pm.