Jodie Bateman wins the Female within Focus 2021 award within the Stories Category

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In Jodie Bateman’s My Hijab Has a Voice: Revisited , the performer engages in a heartfelt exploration of the lived experiences of Muslim women. Staging very little and her younger cousin in poses that imitate historical paintings known for their particular objectification of women, she issues the conventions of traditional portraiture. She offers a way of seeing female subjects completely clothed while still captivating, their gazes piercing out there at the viewer.  

Delivered in 1995, Bateman grew up in Earlsfield, London. She converted to Islam in December 2017. In 2018, after having a year out of university for her maternity leave, she began work on the project Our Hijab Has a Voice . For the work in this series, Bateman is champion of Female in Focus 2021 in the Stories Classification.

© Jodie Bateman.

© Jodie Bateman.

“My first time shooting around this theme I was at home with a digital camera just producing self-portraits and trying to express a sense of positivity with the hijab, ” she remembers. Then, her research took her down a rabbit opening of hateful websites regarding Muslim women and she realized how misunderstood they are. “I was learning so much about my new religion as well as the hijab, and it really hurt me to see what I found, ” she says. Decided on do more, she started working on My Hijab Has a Voice: Revisited .  

As Muslim women are most often portrayed wearing black, Bateman chose to use a bold spectrum of pinks and purples in this project. “I also chose to shoot the images at home to let the audiences into a Muslim woman’s personal space, in the hopes it would humanise me, and possess how much more I am than the piece of cloth. ” 

© Jodie Bateman.

Contrary to what some may believe, she says, “the veil doesn’t stop us from mixing in society. In fact , it’s the thing that assists us do so comfortably. ” Wearing the hijab has allowed Bateman to move through the , the burkha no longer being judged just for how she looks, the girl says, which in itself has provided her freedom.  

Bateman says that what must change the most about how our own societies represent Muslim women is the role of the mass media. “[The media] nourishes and perpetuates a story of us being oppressed, brainwashed by our husbands, in support of modernising our hijabs towards our families wishes, in order to ‘fit in’, ” she says. “And this is usually followed by acts of banning the niqab, burkini and also banning the hijab inside professional places [of work] in some countries. ” So often spoken for by media, and by men, this series is Bateman’s attempt to make a space for the voices of Muslim women, and return agency over how they are portrayed.

Based between Surrey and London, Bateman is currently working with other women whom wear a hijab, developing her project into a more collaborative endeavour. By revealing stories and making portraits, she hopes to are up against the public with ever more Muslim womens’ voices, in continually uplifting and empowering methods.

© Jodie Bateman.

Contrary to what some may believe, she states, “the veil doesn’t quit us from mixing inside society. In fact , it’s the thing that helps us do so comfortably. ” Wearing the hijab has allowed Bateman to move through the Western world no longer being judged for how she appears, she says, which in itself has given her freedom.  

Bateman says that exactly what needs to change the most about how exactly our societies represent Muslim women is the role of the media. “[The media] feeds and perpetuates the narrative of us being oppressed, brainwashed by our husbands, and only modernising our hijabs against our families wants, in order to ‘fit in’, ” she says. “And this is typically followed by acts associated with banning the niqab, burkini and even banning the hijab in professional places [of work] in some countries. ” So often spoken intended for by the media, and by men, this series is Bateman’s try to make a space for the noises of Muslim women, and return agency over the way they are portrayed.

Based in between Surrey and London, Bateman is now working with other ladies who wear a hijab, developing her project into a more collaborative endeavour. Simply by sharing stories and producing portraits, she hopes in order to confront the public with more Muslim womens’ voices, in continually uplifting and strengthening ways.

The Female in Focus 2021 exhibition will be shown with Green Space Miami included in the inaugural  Women Photographers Global Archive ( WOPHA ) Congress, from 18 November to 18-January 2022

Many thanks to this year’s sponsor: MPB , the particular world’s largest online system for used photo plus video kit

To find out more about Female inside Focus, c lick here.

Joanna Cresswell

Joanna L. Cresswell is an author and editor based in Brighton. She has written on digital photography and culture for over 40 international magazines and periodicals, and held positions as editor for organisations such as the Photographers’ Gallery, Unseen Amsterdam and Self Publish, Be Happy. She recently completed an MA in comparison literature and criticism on Goldsmiths College, University associated with London

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