Please note that the poems and essays on this site are copyright and may not be reproduced without the author's permission.


Friday, 23 May 2014

Chaste


.

Exhibition "Purity", Malmo. Photographer David Magnusson's portraits offer a nuanced look at the Purity Ball phenomenon in the United States. During a Purity Ball young girls promise to "live pure lives before God" and remain virgins until marriage. In return, the fathers sign a commitment promising to protect their daughters chastity: photo by David Magnusson, image by Helena Stam, 27 April 2013
 


Exhibition "Purity", Malmo. Photographer David Magnusson's portraits offer a nuanced look at the Purity Ball phenomenon in the United States. During a Purity Ball young girls promise to "live pure lives before God" and remain virgins until marriage. In return, the fathers sign a commitment promising to protect their daughters chastity: photo by David Magnusson, image by Helena Stam, 27 April 2013


Purity: photo by David Magnusson, instagram image by Henrik Ismarker, 5 March 2014


David Magnusson: "Purity" Vernissage, Malmo: photo by Christer, 27 April 2013



David Magnusson: "Purity" Vernissage, Malmo: photo by Christer, 27 April 2013
 

David Magnusson: "Purity" Vernissage, Malmo: photo by Christer, 27 April 2013

6 comments:

TC said...

The Purity Pledge and America's Modern Virginity Movement

But alas, many teens don't stick with their pledges, once those inconvenient hormones pop up -- and then it's double trouble.

"The study also found that, five years after taking a virginity pledge, more than 80 percent of pledgers denied ever making such a promise. 'This high rate of disaffiliation may imply that nearly all virginity pledgers view pledges as nonbinding.'"

Wooden Boy said...

These pictures of pictures look hard at an old and troubling familial knot. Very glad of the distance David Magnusson brings to the subject.

manik sharma said...

Tom,

'Modern Virginity' movement
Modern 'Virginity movement'

Whether virginity itself can be read as 'modern',is a fairly unattractive idea-the purity draining itself through semiotic devilishness...The holocaust was one badass pledge,isn't it..

TC said...

Swedish photographer David Magnusson takes Purity Balls at face value, and, with the good manners of a guest, carefully avoids judgment.

David Magnusson: Purity

His subjects are nothing if not willing to cooperate with the project, as confirmed by their testimony.

"'I realize that my biggest dream is to go to France, and I can't do that if I get pregnant before marriage,' says Erin Hope Smallwood, 13, pictured with her father, Jay, in Haughton, Louisiana" (in the third image here).

The idea seems to be, the dads give the daughters away on loan to the Big Dad upstairs -- but not really. The arrangement, as we see it, seems somewhat provisional, if only in that, with nowhere to run, the girls are holding still for it... and nobody would want to get their sash tangled up in a pointy battle-ribbon.

The phantasmagoric swirl of young girls in white dresses seen in the first video above creates a curious (false) Cinderella vision of American femalehood. These girls will doubtless grow into sensible, independent-minded American woman. Right.

"You can't wear white shoes after Labor Day!"

The attitude in which Magnusson captures his father/daughter subjects seems a conscious reference to American Gothic.

Which makes the stark, austere framing of the work in the shots from the Swedish opening of the exhibition particularly impactful. The elements of distance and strangeness introduced into the picture by this Bergmanesque/Dreyeresque atmospheric-suffocation setting of the vernissage nudge the whole project to another level of weirdness entirely, for me. Think: the Bishop's house, in Fanny & Alexander; or, everything that happens in Day of Wrath (Dies Irae).

The specific cultural backdrop of institutionalized paternalism and sexual repression hardly needs mentioning, though while on the issue of import duties, the question does arise, would things not perhaps have turned out at least a tiny bit happier in the long run for the colonists had they simply, instead of dumping the tea into the harbor, dumped the Puritanism?

vazambam (Vassilis Zambaras) said...

Huh, Purity Ball?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sMdorkAxHvY&feature=youtube_gdata

TC said...

Damn, Vassilis, you crazy Greek, now you've got me imagining that top dad ballin' the jack with that sno-pure young'un -- and I believe that is an inappropriate thought, if ever one was.

(Though maybe not so much in Sweden?)