Eight women photographers look at domesticity, feminine identity and familial ties

American photographer Nancy Borowick captured the last days of her parents (above), who both had cancer. Vietnam's Maika Elan explores the lives of same-sex couples in the country. (From left) Maika Elan from Vietnam, France's Sandra Mehl, American N
(From left) Maika Elan from Vietnam, France's Sandra Mehl, American Nancy Borowick, Canadian-Haitian Emilie Regnier and Singapore's Bernice Wong, whose works are featured at the Women In Photography exhibition, will share their stories today during a talk at the Objectifs Centre for Photography and Film.ST PHOTO: NEO XIAOBIN
American photographer Nancy Borowick captured the last days of her parents (above), who both had cancer. Vietnam's Maika Elan explores the lives of same-sex couples in the country. (From left) Maika Elan from Vietnam, France's Sandra Mehl, American N
American photographer Nancy Borowick captured the last days of her parents (above), who both had cancer. PHOTO: NANCY BOROWICK
American photographer Nancy Borowick captured the last days of her parents (above), who both had cancer. Vietnam's Maika Elan explores the lives of same-sex couples in the country. (From left) Maika Elan from Vietnam, France's Sandra Mehl, American N
Vietnam's Maika Elan explores the lives of same-sex couples in the country.PHOTO: MAIKA ELAN - VII PHOTO

Eight women photographers from around the world look at domesticity, feminine identity and familial ties in the Women In Photography exhibition

In her acclaimed series A Life In Death, American photographer Nancy Borowick documents the last days of her parents Howie and Laurel, who had stage four pancreatic and breast cancer respectively.

There is a beautiful moment of them topless and hugging that the 32-year-old emotionally connected with.

For Borowick, the story was not about the disease, but her parents' relationship, love and strength.

"They started to almost resemble each other as a side effect of chemotherapy. Their skin was damaged and they didn't have hair, but there's this unity and love in that moment that I remember so vividly," she said.

Her father died on Dec 7, 2013, and 364 days later, her mother died.

The black-and-white series was awarded second prize in the Long-Term Projects category in last year's World Press Photo contest.

Now based in Guam, her work is part of the third edition of the Women In Film and Photography programme, which celebrates ground-breaking works by women photographers and film-makers.

  • VIEW IT / WOMEN IN PHOTOGRAPHY
     

    WHERE: Objectifs Centre for Photography and Film, 155 Middle Road

    WHEN: Till Nov 19; noon to 7pm (Tuesdays to Saturdays), noon to 4pm (Sundays), closed on Mondays and public holidays

    ADMISSION: Free

    INFO: Rated Advisory 16 (some mature content)


    BOOK IT / WOMEN IN FILM
     

    WHERE: Objectifs Centre for Photography and Film, 155 Middle Road

    WHEN: Thursday to Oct 28

    ADMISSION: $8 from Peatix; for the full schedule, go to www.objectifs.com.sg/womeninfilm2017

Organised by the Objectifs Centre for Photography and Film, it has two components.

The first is a photography exhibition, which spotlights the works of eight international women photographers. Besides Borowick, the others are: Gohar Dashti (Iran), Bieke Depoorter (Belgium), Maika Elan (Vietnam), Sandra Mehl (France), Jannatul Mawa (Bangladesh), Emilie Regnier (Canada) and Bernice Wong (Singapore).

Through their diverse works, these photographers make bold statements about the societies in which they live and work.

For example, Regnier documents hairstyles as a means of self-expression in Cote d'Ivoire; Elan explores the lives of same-sex couples living in Vietnam; while Mawa photographs domestic help in Bangladesh.

The second component is focused on films. Objectifs will screen six feature films and five shorts by women film-makers, including a short film by Singaporean Kirsten Tan, whose debut feature drama Pop Aye, about a man and his elephant, won the Special Jury Award for Screenwriting at the Sundance Film Festival this year.

The programme also highlights the career of Kiki Sugino, a versatile director, producer and actress from Japan. She will give a free seminar about her career and the Japanese film industry at Objectifs on Oct 21, from 3 to 5pm.

On the exhibition, curator Emmeline Yong, who is also the director of Objectifs, says: "Many of the issues explored in this show have a universal impact and we hope that visitors to the exhibition will be able to connect to the images on different levels.

"As we move into the third edition of the exhibition, we believe that it is important to continue supporting the voices of women in an arena that continues to be dominated by men."

For more stories behind the works on show, there is an artist talk today at the Objectifs Centre for Photography and Film from 2 to 4.30pm, featuring five photographers - Borowick, Elan, Mehl, Regnier and Wong.

Entry is by donation and no registration is necessary.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 14, 2017, with the headline 'Sense and sensitivity through their eyes'. Print Edition | Subscribe