Photo by Parker Day

Exploring the 'Darker Undercurrents' of Femininity, in Photos

For the three-year anniversary of queer, feminist fashion zine "Polyester," editor Ione Gamble asked her favorite photographers to depict womanhood in all its off-kilter forms.

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Oct 12 2017, 2:39pm

Photo by Parker Day

"I've always been obsessed with the darker undercurrents of femininity," muses Polyester zine founder and editor-in-chief Ione Gamble. "So much of my work, or the work I commission, gravitates towards representing something more sinister than the usual representations of women we see across media and culture at large."

The intersectional feminist publication is now celebrating its third birthday with three separate issues. Gamble asked her favorite photographers to each create photo series that showed persecuted femininity in all its forms: There's Camille Mariet's crimson-clawed, bubble-gum popping axe murderer—a blackly funny reimagining of the conventions of the final girl trope in serial killer films, and Broadly favorite Parker Day uses the opportunity to introduce her new photography series, Possession, which explores themes of innocence, lust, and the flesh. Meanwhile, Scarlett Carlos Clarke creates a character known as Roxy, a mother-witch based on her recent experience of becoming a parent.

Even though she recently almost got evicted from her studio after some friendly sage-burning witches set off a fire alarm, Gamble has emerged triumphant from the daunting and exhausting task of putting together the third issue—and the 23 year old is more committed than ever before to emphasize femininity in all its vulnerability, darkness, and strength.

"You know," she muses, "my studio-mate Misha just said, 'When in danger, femmes become stranger,' and I think that's a really good way to sum up this zine in particular."

You can pre-order issue 7 of Polyester here, or if you're in London, RSVP for the launch and accompanying exhibition at Protein Studios.

Possession, by Parker Day

"Your body is the only thing you carry with you on your whole journey through life. It's the only thing that can't be taken from you; it's the only thing you truly possess. Of course the word "possession" conjures up ideas of something more metaphysical as well which I like to explore. In this series, I'm asking myself "what does it mean to possess a body?" and using the answers that pop up as the spring board for visual representations." Photo by Parker Day
"My work as a whole is about the construction and performance of identity. My last major body of work, ICONS, focused on character creation through costuming. Now, I'm stripping it down." Photo by Parker Day
"Inspiration comes from everywhere—I suck it all in and let in stew in my subconscious." Photo by Parker Day

Cabin Fever, by Camille Mariet

"My photo series is a reworking of horror film archetypes that have historically been portrayed as masculine to embody a few common negative opinions about strong femmes: narcissistic, man-eating, and destined for loneliness." Photo by Camille Mariet
"A crimson-clawed woman in the woods! A glamorously ghoulish gal in the attic! A bubblegum-popping axe murderer!" Photo by Camille Mariet
"At the time of the shoot I was living in a small town in Montana near one of the entrances to Yellowstone National Park. There's only about 1,300 people living there and it's entirely surrounded by forest. It's the sort of place that makes you feel like you might unwittingly be at the center of a cabin-in-the-woods horror flick—depending, of course, on your stance on scarcely populated areas and cabins in the woods." Photo by Camille Mariet

Under Her Spell, by Scarlett Carlos Clarke

"It's a playful take on the theme of witches—it's so refreshing to shoot for a magazine that isn't restricted by brands in any way." Photo by Scarlett Carlos Clarke
"I really liked the idea of the domesticated witch for this story." Photo by Scarlett Carlos Clarke
"I wanted each girl to have a character that related to real life situations in some way. My inspiration for Roxy came from my own life at the moment—she's the matriarchal mother-witch, bathing in a pool of her own milk." Photo by Scarlett Carlos Clarke.