Michelle Maretha is currently studying Photography in her last year at Curtin University. Her personal style can be described as invigorating, still, and arousing one’s curiosity towards the story behind the image.
Some of her notable works do not only display the image’s aesthetic value but also the critical and social analysis of the society, including racism, discrimination, and youth intoxication to mention a few. Her huge passion in art and creative media has pushed her to develop herself in different study including Fashion and Graphic Design which allowed her to further boost her passion in Photography more holistically.
At the current age of 21 years old, she had achieved few different milestones and recognitions. Some of the exhibitions include City Limits Exhibition (2016), Lux Interior Exhibition (2016), MOSAIC Exhibition (2015), and Fremantle 25 under 25 Exhibition (2014). One of her grandeur achievement came back in 2014 when her work Just Hide It! was selected for display in Art Gallery of Western Australia.
Most recently she has widened her wings to different magazine publication including Kaviar Magazine, Philocaly Magazine, Morrow Magazine, and Greta Photobook, all of which are published in Europe and United States.
The title of this photography exhibition is UN-FEMINISM. The value is driven by inspiring female movie star, Marlene Dietrich. Known for her role in cabaret, opera, and several award-wining movies, Dietrich was quoted by many as one of the hidden gems in cinema history. Not only that her fashion became a signifying symbol of androgynous cohort, her beauty was a combination of both masculinity and femininity. Dietrich was a symbol of both fashion and sexual liberty and was not afraid of showing her true self. One of her famous quote was “In Europe, it doesn’t matter if you’re a man or woman – we make love with anyone we find attractive”.
Another quote of her showed her gentle and passionate side such as “Love for the joy of loving, and not for the offerings of someone else’s heart”. Her openness was paramount when she famously had affairs with different men while still acknowledging her husband. This is a rare principle in any era, a value that I opposed from marital perspective, but also an attitude that showed a courageous and free woman.
In these images, the masculinity and mysteriousness of Dietrich was depicted exquisitely through androgynous wardrobe and dark make-up. They represented a strong, independent, and courageous etiquette of Dietrich. Her fashion sense was also meticulously displayed through harmonious tone of outfits and style. The facial expression, although strongly tried to be enigmatic also presented vulnerability and tenderness played by the eyes and hand gesture. It was probably the most important feature in Dietrich’s life: her seeking of identity. The location selected was St Brigid’s college in Lesmurdie. This place was selected because of its preserved Victorian style interior with redesigned modern tone in some of the area. From this location, I wanted to show the classicality of era to symbolise Dietrich’s prominent year and combined them with the modern era.
From these images, the inspiration of Dietrich’s became paramount in this century. In the midst of gender and sexual equality, one must show bravery and not cowardice of someone’s identity. As Dietrich firmly inferred how she sought for image, not for herself, for public, for men, or even for fashion, this should be the approach that everyone had in mind when they embraced their true self.