Babe – Publication Review

By Laura Duffy


Edited by Petra Collins

Foreword by Tavi Gevinson

Yesterday I received a package in the mail.

I screamed, I sang, I instagrammed, I spilt coffee on it, I wiped coffee off with a baby wipe, I loved it.

Babe is edited by Petra Collins who is a young American female photographer, she has written a small essay at the beginning to create context. Outlining her need to create something that reflects her experience of being in the world, rather than a reflection of the superimposed being in the world from popular culture and societal constructs. The mixed media creation features collage, photographs, sculpture, drawings and dabbles in a wee bit of poetry. In the foreword by Tavi Genvison, she discusses female artist in a male-dominated world. Considering exploring sexuality in a non-objectifying + non-male gaze way.

An all female ensemble of artists came together, some I knew, and some I didn’t. With the basic knowledge of the editorial process as well as the real life object of the book I came across new artists within the contextualisation of values and ideas as well as aesthetics.

So basically, if Petra and Tavi think that these artists are worthy of being in their beautiful book, they must be doing some pretty cool and interesting stuff. A great opportunity for emerging artists to gain exposure.

Petra currently utilises interesting dissemination strategies such as Instagram and Tumblr, it comes as a natural progression bring out a book and release it into the mainstream – the very thing Petra is critiquing.  It really is exciting to hold a tangible object after viewing art online so regularly. The photographs within the book are high quality and slick, some taking up the page, some in an asymmetrical form. Laid differently for the different presentation intentions of each artists. Printed in Slovakia the hard covered book is an absolute beaut, an object which will hold value for a long time.



Petra Collins’ Instagram – Online Art Review

By Laura Duffy

Petra Collins is an American photographer and artist, currently working in New York. Petra often photographs adolescent girls with sensitivity towards the exploration of friendship, sexuality and youth. Using the representation of young experiences to encourage young people to become more comfortable within their own bodies.  Potentially reproducing the ideology that she’s trying to critique by discussing female sexuality and development from a male-gaze perspective specifically in her older work. I think she and working through the internalization of the male-gaze and progressing.

Petra seems to be interested in broadening the dissemination of her work outside of the gallery, as well as being involved with Rookie magazine she designed a t-shirt featuring masturbating menstrual blood for American Apparel. She is also very prominent within social media such as Instagram, Twitter and Tumblr. Utilising the mainstream space of fashion and magazines as well digital social media space, which could be said to be more popular than the gallery space for her target audience of young girls. Looking specifically at her Instagram, the photographs are being digitally exhibited, as well as simultaneously published to her account. As well as posting her own work and exhibitions, she includes influences to her life and work. I find this an interesting mixture of professional and personal, workbook and blog. Entering into the same space that she’s critiquing, the mainstream, she’s working from the inside out. As well as allowing easier, instant and international accessibility for viewers.

I found it really thought-provoking when Petra Collin’s Instagram was shut down after posting a picture in bikini bottoms with public hair showing. The photo was reported to Instagram by a number of anonymous users, exemplifying a societal force and regulation to the “norm”.  When interviewed by Oyster on the topic Petra Collin’s expressed her confusion and annoyance drew comparisons to the medias repetitious coverage on Rihanna’s face beaten up after being the victim of abuse. Questioning what is censored and what is not, why are we allowed to see so many horrific things yet censor the natural pubic hair of the female body? She finishes the interview with lingering questions for readers, “WHY you felt this way? WHY this image was so shocking? WHY you have no tolerance for it? Hopefully you will come to understand that it might not be you thinking these things but society telling you how to think.”


Link to Petra Collins website where the Oyster interview is published:

Link to Petra Collins’ Instagram:

Image credit: Screenshot from Instagram & Petra Collins