I treated my kids to an art-themed adventure in Century City on the last day of their Winter Break by visiting the Annenberg Space for Photography for the first time since it first opened back in 2009. We decided to visit Skylight Studios, its neighboring multimedia studio and retail gallery, first because we had just finished our lunch at the grassy area of the campus and realized we were 30 feet away from the gallery entrance.
Located directly across the park from the Annenberg Space for Photography’s main Photography Space, Skylight Studios is a 5,000 square foot studio and gallery space that currently houses the temporary exhibition, #girlgaze: A Frame of Mind, which showcases photography with the recurring theme of how young, female photographers from around the globe see the world.
The reception area of the gallery space also served as its gift shop. Anyone can appreciate whatever was sold in the shop. It literally had something for everyone: learning tools about photography and worldly adventure; a decent selection of toy cameras to the likes of Holgas, Dianas, and endless camera accessories; cool black t-shirts worthy of styling during an actual photo shoot; and literature and miscellaneous thoughtful desk items that further encourages the exploration of the exhibit’s subject matter: the experience of women.
Behind the reception area, visitors are welcome to explore the gallery space. Photography was presented via multimedia presentations, the more traditional 2-D gallery walls and through a small library of art books.
There were even interactive stations wherein visitors examined the feminist messages written on postcards and pin-back buttons. Afterward, each visitor were encouraged to take one pin-back button home to wear. I think the “Girl Boss” button conveyed the feminist agenda in the most fluid, positive light, so that was the winner for us.
The gallery set up allowed me to talk to my children about how the works of women displayed at Skylight Studios are a means of expression for the non-conventional discussion of the female experience. Each photograph displayed here served as numerous jumping boards for my children to ask me about women and mental illness, depression and suicide; how women respond to traditional vs. non-traditional mores of Western beauty; how women from around the world practice religion differently and how that affects their social status within their communities; and the power struggles, either in romantic relationships or in the workplace, women endure daily.
Lastly, the gallery docent invited us to check out an interactive photo booth at the rear of the museum space to create our own digital artwork. My son immediately took notice of the many faceted mirrored booth and asked if this had something to do with the different ways women are treated by others or how women see themselves. Hmm, maybe.
We were invited to receive free print outs of our photos so long as we participated in the exhibition’s social media page by posting our photos on Instagram. During this process, we encountered some technical difficulties with the automatic printer. The two male receptionists did not know how to remedy the situation, so they contacted one of the IT specialists from the main office, who happened to be female. I was appreciative of this event in hindsight because it provided an opportunity for my son to see that women, too, can solve technical problems.
While I am glad that we were ultimately gifted these fantastic photos from the #girlgaze exhibition, I am more grateful for the very memorable experience I shared with my children. It is not every day that one can have a serious, yet casual discussion about the feminist experience. #girlgaze: A Frame of Mind certainly created an open forum for me to teach my children about my personal female experience and viewpoint, as well as to provide a comfortable setting to learn and appreciate other women’s different views and life experiences about what it is like to be female.
#girlgaze: A Frame of Mind
October 22, 2016 through February 26, 2017
at the Annenberg Space for Photography
10050 Constellation Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90067
Wednesday – Sunday, 11:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. (Closed Mondays and Tuesdays)
girlgaze: How Girls See The World
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