Katie Burleson
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Muscle and Curve: Photography project

How does my identity as a woman shape my identity as an athlete, and vice versa? These photographs explore the challenges faced by female athletes, who train to perform not just to look good.

 

Athlete No. 1 (Click for full image)

MUSCLE & CURVE

As an athlete on a collegiate women's tennis team, I often wondered how my identity as a women co-exists with my identity as an athlete. These photographs explore this question.

 Athlete No. 2

Athlete No. 2

Women athletes navigate challenges while training that are uniquely female but framed by the language of all athletes. Should I be benching more, how much cardio do I really need, is it ok to run at night? Women athletes have the same capacity for strength training as male athletes regardless of race, religion, sexuality, or body type, and are capable of much more than they are taught to believe. 

 Athlete No. 3

Athlete No. 3

Most female athletes develop their muscle structure to enhance performance. They bench press so they can throw further and hit harder--not just to look better. Many have an elegance that is uniquely feminine, but an athlete's decided femininity (or masculinity) or genetically prescribed curves are second to her strength.

 Athlete No. 4

Athlete No. 4

The subjects of these photographs are women who train as hard as their male teammates with the same goal of reaching peak physical performance. Their bodies, individual and singular, are not for consumption by the male gaze and do not exist only to be sexualized. While this work does not attempt to speak for all female athletes, these portraits seek to represent strength, poise, and dedication.

 Athlete No. 5

Athlete No. 5

 
 Athlete No. 6

Athlete No. 6

 
 Athlete No. 7

Athlete No. 7

 
 Athlete No. 8

Athlete No. 8

 
 Athlete No. 9

Athlete No. 9

 
 Athlete No. 10

Athlete No. 10

 

The first 9 of this photo series were shown in Wheaton College's Senior Studio Art Major Exhibition, "Working Title," Norton, MA 2015 and A.I.R. Gallery's "Who's Afraid of Feminism?" Exhibition in DUMBO, Brooklyn, summer 2015.

 My parents and me celebrating opening night! At the Beard and Weil Galleries

My parents and me celebrating opening night! At the Beard and Weil Galleries

 The studio before the show!

The studio before the show!

 My photograph on the cover (reeeeally small) of the "Who's Afraid of Feminism" book!

My photograph on the cover (reeeeally small) of the "Who's Afraid of Feminism" book!