Depicting Inequality. Still-Life as an Expansion of Documentary Photography
The opening up of a merely documentarist photographic tradition towards one that acknowledges the role of the photographer more consciously and also allows the photographer to take action and express thoughts and ideas using staged photography, metaphors, or allegories offers a new dimension to this field. In times like these, when discussions about representations are and should be politically driven, a mere depiction of victims is not satisfactory anymore. Discussions of post-photography, which Martha Rosler started in 1996 and which, as a term, inserted itself into the theory of photography around 2010, offer a theoretical framework for this work.
The use of allegories, symbols, and metaphors offers a certain level of abstraction – away from the particular towards the more general. Within the scope of her Master’s thesis, Meret Buser explores the possibilities that still-life photography offers to depict social injustices on the example of gender inequality. By the production of visual allegories and metaphors, Buser strives to add to the discussion.
Buser uses visual allegories to create a pictorial world that takes the topic of gender inequalities and wage discrimination to another level. Although no personification or trivialization takes places in her images, her images are quite touching, albeit in an odd way. Because the photographs are more general and do not bluntly point out the topic of gender inequality, her work reaches a much broader public. The goal of depicting inequality is not to indoctrinate onlookers but rather to create an image that communicates with viewers on several layers and make them think.