Micheila Petersfield is an emerging young photographer, graduated in Fine Arts at the University of Tasmania and currently is undertaking a PhD in photography. She has been selected to be part of the Biennale of Australian Art in Ballarat 2018 and won The Henry Jones Art Prize 2019 as well as the emerging artist category of the 2019 Woman’s Art Prize Tasmania.
~”My photography is focused on the idea of destabilising photographic ideals of female representation by reconstructing them as awry self-portraits. By deconstructing femininity and refiguring it from an altered perspective, those symbols that are girlish and beautiful adopt a darker and strange meaning. Through the self-portrait I embody characters that border on the grotesque while still retaining an aura of beauty and allure. This quality is reflected in the push and pull between the aesthetic appeal and the unsettling content. While my images are highly constructed and artificial they are seamlessly presented, which contrasts with the surreal content.
I transform my appearance by adorning myself in makeup and costumes, parading in front of the camera. Through my performance as a model and my creative directing I mediate the camera eye without looking through the viewfinder. I am in control of my appearance and am completely aware of my audience. The female characters in my photographs evade a singular reading; they are simultaneously threating and vulnerable and seem to fluctuate between subject and object. My work often borrows from popular and conventional imagery of women to evoke ideals and simultaneously challenge them. By looking at forms that primarily male creators have used to represent women and adopting them into my practice, the meaning alters because it becomes a female artist’s self portrait.”
-Micheila Petersfield 2017