Exposure: Photographer Maisie Cousins

Art director Gem Fletcher examines the work of photographer Maisie Cousins, in the latest instalment of a series looking into new talent in photography, from recent graduates to photographers breaking into the industry…

The photographic industry has typically been a male dominated space, however, the tide is changing and there is a plethora of exciting young female talent bursting into the scene. Say hello to Maisie Cousins.

Maisie Cousins
Grass, Peonie, bum by Maisie Cousins

Maisie Cousins work redefines femininity, celebrating the elements of the female form that most photographers airbrush away. Each frame a visceral trip. Her images equally seduce and repulse, in all the right ways.

Cousins studied at Brighton University and left frustrated with the traditional approach to photography. She went on to create a more fluid and experimental practise, which has quickly shaped her signature style.

Tired of being inundated with images of the ‘industry approved’ female body, she set out to normalise nudity and aestheticise previously demonised body parts.

Alongside peers like Juno Calpyso and Petra Collins, Cousins has a performative element to her work, which brings a sense of power and rebellion to the images.

Overgrown by Maisie Cousins
Overgrown by Maisie Cousins
Overgrown by Maisie Cousins
Maisie Cousins

Her work to date centres around tight, intimate crops, tracing silvery stretch marks to snail facials. She celebrates both the everyday and the weird and wonderful. The work is physical. Messy, grimy, and sweaty. This deliberate smearing gives the work a sense of playful defiance.

Unapologetically feminine, Cousins takes back all those one-dimensional female gender tropes and redefines them in her own hedonistic point of view. Projects like S.E.X and What Girls Are Made Of feature flowers, glitter and lipstick subversively placed in pools of fluid.

Maisie Cousins
Maisie Cousins

Successfully avoiding the usual pigeon holing, Cousins’ work has been accepted by both the art and fashion worlds. She was recently featured in Tate Britain’s exhibition on new representations of the human body, and also got the stamp of approval from Jefferson Hack, named as one of Dazed’s top 100.

Cousins’ work sits at the intersection of ugly and beautiful – seducing and confusing her viewers in equal measure. Fighting against clickbait feminism, she champions all things natural, making up her own rules as she goes.

Maisie Cousins

Maisie Cousins

www.maisiecousins.com
@maisiecousins

www.gemfletcher.com
@gemfletcher

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