Monthly Archives: March 2012

Kelli Connell and Gender Roles


Kelli Connell uses composite images to question gender roles.

In her work Double Life, Kelli Connell uses Photoshop to composite two images of the same model into one photograph. She uses the technique to recreate believable relationships that never occured. She has the model play both the female and male gender roles to expose the view of the self. By combining the two images of the same model she can show a inner conflict within a person or couple. Kelli Connell is able to demonstrate two alternate roles that a person may take in a relationship.

Kitchen Tension

The use of clothing helps Kelli Connell to enrich the perspective of the gender roles.

Kelli Connell has said that the purpose of her work is not only to show a point of view, but to gain a reaction and to analyze the social constructs of others. As part of this post I have created two photographs as a rebuttal to her work. Kelli’s photographs use one person playing two gender roles in a relationship that is not real. My photographs are perhaps the opposite of her technique, but similar in concept.


Both husband and wife are the breadwinners.

The first photograph shows both the husband and wife as the breadwinners of the family. Dressed in the same color showing that they can both take on this traditional gender role because of their marriage. The second photograph shows the couple folding laundry and preparing meals, which are the roles typically associated with the homemaker.  The use of identical colors in clothing in the images also resembles the married couple coming together as a family.


A husband and wife performing household chores together. A real photograph of a relationship that may seem unbelievable to some.

My two images show the self in a real relationship, a marriage to be exact. Through the relationship the couple is able to be a part of both gender roles, while maintaining gender identity. Because of the husband and wife’s relationship with each other, their choices are expanded rather than diminished; unlike Kelli Connell’s constructions where the subject must chose between one role or the other, because the model can not in reality be both people  in the photograph. Both Kelli Connell’s and my work show the differences between relationships. They examine how some relationships can be one sided, some 50/50, and others (particularly the one portrayed in my photographs) two people giving 100% of themselves together to create one great whole. Both sets of photographs should help to question the inner self and examine personal relationships and the quality thereof.

Both my images were digitally unaltered except for increasing the entire image’s exposure value through the use of computer software. This was done to provide clarity and to compensate for poor set lighting, insomuch that more can now be seen in the shadows of the image.