Caterina Kenworthy: Surface Tension


originally from Brooklyn, New York, studied photography, writing, and journalism at Hampshire College. Her project Surface Tension celebrates the diverse expressions of femininity. Inspired by the vast tapestry of identities in her community, the project challenges misrepresentations and invites viewers to rethink how we visually define femininity and its impact on our understanding of identity.

Surface Tension explores femininity in all its beauty and terror. I am influenced and inspired by the rich and evolving identities of the women, femmes, and non-binary people in my community. More often than not, I find these identities to be misrepresented in the dominant cultural narrative.

The consumption of images has become so vast and so integral to the way we interpret the world around us, which is why I believe it is vital to expand the way that feminine identities are visually represented. This is a step towards a culture where any and all expressions of femininity are encouraged rather than suppressed.

By considering the spaces my subjects occupy, the marks that they make, the routines they engage in, I made a body of work that investigates and celebrates femininity without attempting to censor, standardize, or commodify its manifestation. This project was driven by dualities – bloom and decay, repulsion and desire, permission and denial, illusion and truth – and the way these opposites inevitably bleed into each other to form a dialectical relationship, becoming more like counterparts. This is an invitation to reconsider and revise the visual language we use when it comes to femininity and how that language affects our understanding of identity.

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