Michelle Rogers Pritzl

Photographer
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Location: Ithaca, NY
Nationality: USA
Biography:   Michelle Rogers Pritzl was born and raised in Washington DC, where she fell in love with photography in a high school darkroom. Pritzl received a BFA from the Corcoran College of Art and Design in 2001, a MA in Art Education from California... read on
Public Project
Those Whose Hands and Hearts are Pure
Credits: michelle rogers pritzl
Updated: 08/31/15

Those Whose Hands and Hearts are Pure is a metaphor for the psychological damage inflicted on young women through Evangelical Christian purity culture.   Through Victorian notions of patriarchy, young women are taught to submit, to be ashamed of themselves, their bodies, their sexuality, their dreams and ultimately to exist for the sake of the husband they will serve. Purity culture seeksto place young women into bondage where they are shamed for their bodies, their sexuality and desires and turn them into subservient, timid creatures who will submit and allow themselves to be fully dominated.  I grew up in an environment of promise rings, and True Love Waits pledge cards, taught that I had to remain pure in order to find a husband, that I needed to submit my will and serve him.  This work is about my own journey that ultimately led me to break free from this environment.

In these self-portraits I play a character that performs or endures tasks that represent the inner workings of the psychological damage inflicted by these beliefs.  This series tells my own story of withstanding oppression and breaking free from evangelical Christianity and the chains it places on a woman's sexuality. A theme of domination over the female character is woven into the images; this reference subverts the intent of the Fundamentalist mindset and the control they seek over women and their sexuality.  The control, condemnation and judgment I faced growing up in this environment is turned into pleasure.  The psychological bondage and domination Fundamentalist men would inflict on women becomes a sexually charged situation where I am ultimately the one in control. 

Each image is a 16x20” tintype, printed with a transparency in the darkroom, in a unique edition of 5.  My digital workflow combined with the antique media of collodion references the antiquated view of women through the photographic process itself.

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