Female Photographer Approaches Men Who Catcall at Her and Takes Their Portrait

Hannah Price

This project is a work in progress documenting a part of my life as an African-Mexican-American, transitioning from suburban Colorado to consistently being harassed on the streets of Philadelphia. These images are a response to my subjects looking at me, and myself as an artist looking back. — Hannah C. Price

Emerging photographer Hannah Price reverses the power of the male gaze by photographing men who catcall her. Originally hailing from Colorado, Price moved to Philadelphia after completing her undergraduate and was immediately struck by the loud comments she received while going about her day. Repeatedly running into the same demeaning experience, Price decided to turn her camera on those who shouted after her, transforming the jeer into an exchange. The images feel bold and unmasked, their abrupt manner reflective of the uncomfortable discourse taking place.

Though she does not believe her response causes these men to reconsider their actions, she feels that documenting the encounter allows her to take control of the situation, turning the attention to their behavior rather than her physical appearance. Claiming that the series is neither a judgment on men or a comment on race, the MFA Yale candidate uses her photography as a means of understanding something unfamiliar, hoping to find some sort of common humanity in the process.

Hannah Price

Hannah Price

Hannah Price

Hannah Price

Hannah Price

Hannah Price

Hannah Price

Hannah Price

Hannah Price

This post was contributed by photographer and Feature Shoot Editorial Assistant Jenna Garrett.

  • This was done before in the 70s…

  • mark

    george zimmerman’s in philly?

  • Jeff Skii

    I like how it’s all Black Males

  • Robert

    Iris, you represent very well the sad state of visual art thanks to the dominance of concept over execution. Landscapes, men, the street, the nude, etc. have all “been done.” If you reduce visual art to merely the concept behind it, then very little work would be new. As someone very interested in visual art and the artists primary tool of visual (not verbal) language, I note that Ms. Price’s photographs are extremely strong environmental portraits and she displays an excellent command of the formal elements of visual language. They stand on their own as works of visual art without the need for the verbal concept that inspired them.

    You are not alone, however, as many spend more time with the artist’s statement than the work itself. I think these people have confused literature or journalism with visual art. While concept may be a bonus to a well executed visual work, it’s never a substitute IMHO for the quality of the visual art. Compare, for example, Jeff Wall’s “Dead Troops Talk” to Picasso’s “Guernica.” I guess your logic might dismiss both works because the horror of war had already “been done.” I would only dismiss Wall’s because visually it comes across as a diorama at the county museum and is pedestrian with respect to the use of visual language. The only thing interesting about it is the concept. Picasso’s work, OTOH, is a tour de force of communicating through visual language. That it was inspired by an actual event is additive, but far from essential in seeing and feeling its message.

    And Mr. Skii, first I believe you are factually incorrect. But more importantly, Ms. Price is not purporting to document the scope of misogynistic behavior around the world. It is her personal experience. It would be just as superficial to say “I like how it’s all men from Philly.” Art that substitutes PC wishes for the truth as the artist experiences it is likely to not be worthwhile. I think calling out the race of the men – particularly when one of the few example appears to not be black – indicates a biaas in the viewer, not the artist.

  • While many people defend the behavior by claiming it’s a compliment, you can see the discomfort on their faces, when the attention is turned back on them. So much respect to Hannah C. Price for taking the power back!
    (And to you too, Robert!)

  • Nathan

    Robert, wellll…… Iris didn’t just “dismiss” this woman’s work. He/she just stated it’d been done before. You’ve made quite a number of assumptions in your ridiculously long, pompous response. It was fun to read the first paragraph and a half before I lost interest and respect. Good day XD

  • William

    Ms Price may not intend her work to be a “judgment on men” or a “comment on race”, but of course it is both those things in and through her creative work. The artist never presents the world “as it is”, as if that were even possible. The artist always reflects her own concerns and judgments, and it would be, I would suggest, overly facile to suppose that there is no judgment or comment being performed in these photos.

  • Robert

    Nathan, you really believe Iris had no point and just wrote about some arbitrary fact that had no significance? And I won’t apologize for providing a basis for my strongly held belief so those who disagree can respond substantively. As a mere human being, I have been wrong before and am appreciative when someone shows me where my analysis, assumptions and/or facts were in error. No one loses an informed debate if they have an open mind.

    William, yes with such a hot button issue, it is maybe hard to not see the work as a comment on race. In this country, however, having witnessed as behavioral “norms” (with undoubted frequent exceptions) catcalls by white male NYC construction workers and scrupulously polite behavior towards women by black men in the rural South, the behavior at issue can’t really be based in race, but in culture. It gets confusing because historical and ongoing separation of races ends up aligning with particular cultures. Yet the fact that misogyny and sexism cuts across cultures and races, from Saudi Arabia (I’ve witnessed catcalls and worse by Saudi men on the streets of London) to Japan to Australia ( to the good ‘ol USA, I see Ms. Price’s work as a comment on men, not just the men she encountered. To the extent the issue is about race, it’s the human race as I see it.

  • Jackie

    How interesting! These images make me want to get inside the heads of the men in the portraits. How did they feel having the cameras turned on them? Did it stroke their ego? Did they feel embarrassed? Guilty? Exploited? Did they feel guilty? Did they feel empathy? So interesting…
    What was her interaction like with them? Wouldn’t it be interesting to know? I imagine sometimes it was an aggressive/combative exchange, but others look flirtatious, friendly.
    Really, I think the only judgement that occurs is in the eye of the beholder, when we burden the image with our own curiosity and preconceptions.
    Good for the photographer for taking back control in a situation that often leaves the woman feeling vulnerable.

  • Tsulaa

    What, do the men in Colorado whisper “Excuse me?” first? As for these mens’ expressions, most of them don’t seem all that apologetic. Then again, I’m not convinced they should be.

    We were not there to witness these experiences first hand. Instead, we are being told, at least by the author, that they were “demeaning” experiences. But, isn’t that relative? Taken a little further, let’s say everybody agrees they were equally demeaning. One’s response to such treatment is relative, as well.

    I don’t know. Something about this just isn’t sitting well with me. It seems a too-easy manipulation to demonize, in this instance, the male sex; however, taking advantage of similar vulnerabilities seems en trend these days.

  • Julieta Sans

    I’m surprised neither the artist nor the contributor referenced Laurie Anderson who did the exact same thing 40 years ago… I’m not implying this photographer has copied Anderson but I invite her and everyone to see the original work:

    I understand it might not be so widely available, I was lucky to see the installation at an exhibition in London.

  • JT

    so culturally connected….

  • peterblue11

    yea, it brilliantly shows that not enough has changed in the psyche of a lot of men.

  • This is really a cool article. It’s interesting how she flipped it on the guys who catcalled her. They become the subject, they become the object. Brilliant.

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