Media master student publishes book
During her master’s degree studies in Volda, Kirsten Randers-Pehrson started her photo project on menopausal women. Now it has become a book that she recently launched during a photo book festival in Oslo.
– It was incredibly fun that I was invited to participate in Studio Cyan's photo book festival where I had an exhibition of photos, launch of a book and book bath, Randers-Pehrson says about when the book Transitional Women was released on Sunday 22 August and follows up:
– It feels satisfying to have completed a book and opens that I can soon start thinking of a new project to work on.
We stop the photographer from Nesodden a bit there and jump a few years back to time. When she started at Master in Media Practices, Randers-Pehrson herself had reached menopause, and thinks the topic of menopause was a bit taboo and something that was not talked about that much.
– At the same time, I started on the master. When I had to choose what to work with, it struck me that it could be interesting to make something about menopause. I chose to make a practical part with portraits of menopausal women, and a theoretical part where I examined the image representation of women aged 45-60 years. For that, I examined four Norwegian magazines and I found that middle-aged women (45-60 years) were less represented than younger women and men of the same age, even in magazines where women over 40 were the target group, Randers-Pehrson says.
Both politically and artistically
She finished her master’s degree in Volda in 2020, but did not abandon the project for that reason. She developed it further instead. Randers-Pehrson used Facebook to find women with a different cultural background than those she had already portrayed. Almost everyone she asked said "yes" to line up, which she thought was a bit incredible considering the topic.
– It shows, I think, that the time has come to deal with outdated prejudices and shame associated with menopause, Randers-Pehrson comments.
She had two types of approach to the practical project that has now become the book Transitional Women; a political and an artistic. Politically, she wanted to highlight and promote menopausal women.
Artistically, she was concerned that menopause is an interesting age, a kind of intermediate state where one can feel insecure about identity and role.
– I wanted to investigate how this period, with vulnerability and change, could be expressed through images and ended up with a series of portraits where I also interviewed the women.
In this book, 18 menopausal women are portrayed and interviewed. They tell honestly, soberly, sadly and funnily about how they experience being at an age between young and old.
She is proud and happy to stand there with the book in her hand and can breathe a sigh of relief that the job has been done in a good way.
– It has been a lot of work since I have done almost everything myself; photography, scanning of negatives, image processing, the texts, layout, contact with the printing company and applications that had to be written to receive financial support. I was tired but very happy when I was at the printing house.
Randers-Pehrson also sends a thank you to Volda and the university college, where she gained knowledge that was important for the book project and not least for future projects.
– For me, it was very educational to study at Master in Media Practices. There were many good and nice people, and I got a lot of input and not least, opportunity, tools and help to immerse myself in different projects, which is one of the things I like to do best. I feel that I have learned a lot that I can take with me further and have many fond memories of teachers and students, the school, and the beautiful nature around.