What is Femography?


Robin Ruth

"When I photograph people's bodies I feel I'm seeing a
manifestation of something internal."
~Joyce Tenneson


Femography is a woman's experience, emotionally and physically, of being photographed and viewing her portrait. This therapeutic photography process helps a woman become aware of her inner voice while being photographed and viewing her images, creating an open dialogue where she can share her personal body image stories that may have been hidden deep inside for many years. It is a newly devised process of focusing on and revealing the internal emotional and physical messages women tell themselves while facing the camera in hopes of improving their body image and accepting their own portraits. With the resurgence of eating disorders among the baby boomer generation, more attention needs to be directed at helping women feel good about their aging bodies.

The Femography process includes a series of questions that challenge conditioned thoughts women have acquired unconsciously from their environment and the news and print media about what is beautiful and good. As discussed in her book PhotoTherapy Techniques: Exploring the Secrets of Personal Snapshots and Family Albums, psychologist Judy Weiser discusses the therapy being used in helping people transform unconscious thoughts into conscious ones as a path to healing. Weiser refers to photographers adding the goal of psychological healing to the process of photographing women as Therapeutic Photography, similar to the PhotoTherapy techniques used by licensed therapists to help their clients.

The key: opening up the body image dialogue amongst women and collectively making a commitment to tear down the internal walls that obstruct us from loving ourselves unconditionally. In knowing that we are not alone in our self-defeating thoughts, we can begin to change our standards of beauty by changing our internal reference points to those of our own attainable images.

"Since about 80% of our sensory stimuli enters through our eyes (Hall,1973), sight-based information is crucial to our understanding of what we encounter. It isn't just beauty that is "in the eye of the beholder"; our idea of reality itself is based on our perceptions" (Weiser,1993). The unattainable images of women we are exposed to via the print and news media, computers, etc. have unconsciously become the standard with which we compare ourselves and have helped to create the pervasive unhappiness women have with their bodies. Part of the Femography process includes women living with their own portraits as a means to reprogramming the pathways and associations their brains use in identifying what is their ideal personal appearance.

If you would like to experience the therapeutic benefits of the Femography process, please contact me via email or phone to schedule a complimentary phone consultation. If you are interested in reading about the benefits of incorporating the natural environment into a photo session please click on "Concept of Ecofemography" or Ecofemography Video.

If you would like to join the "Women on the Wall" campaign to help honor, liberate and empower women through the art of portraiture, please click on "women on the wall" for details.