Semiotics of Beauty was created to analyse my construction as a woman. Family photographs reveal subtle but significant indications of gender norms and expectations. These codes and products of femininity are combined in the photographs to obscure the identity of the person underneath. 


Women commonly face judgement when it comes to makeup, about how they look or should look. We’re expected to look ‘feminine’. But what does feminine look like?  In addition, the effort and expertise necessary to do it right are invisible. Time spent fulfilling these expectations is unaccounted for; it is a hidden hair-and- makeup tax. 


My work addresses the absurdity inherent in doing one’s makeup and our perception of it as easy and natural. I use makeup as a vehicle to deconstruct the lose-lose situation’s that women are faced with. 

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© 2020 Émer Agnew Photography

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