Third Year Projects

Katya Illina Farihah #1 [Solar]

Solar is a photo series that explores the expression of contemporary femininity in the context of traditional Islamic gender expression and social norms.

The concept is largely inspired by the personality of the sitter, Farihah. She is my friend and a first-generation Canadian, born in Dhaka, Bangladesh, and raised in Toronto. Having grown up in a conservative religious family but in a society that encourages equality and self-expression, Farihah is a rebel at heart. She leads a “double life” at home and outside the home, in between two cultural identities. She loves both national Bangladeshi clothes and the latest fashion trends. 

Taking into account that fashion is a tool for self-expression, such as belonging to a group, we used clothes to show Farihah’s character. The Bangladeshi dresses were created by her mother, and other clothes were sourced by the stylist Princess. The three of us collaborated to create five looks.

In terms of visual language, it references the style of typical fashion studio photoshoots (soft light, white backdrop, highly stylised poses) with the addition of disrupting elements, like studio equipment and wires. These highlight the contracted nature of this event, and by extension, the whole fashion photography genre. In addition, deliberately rough pencil drawings and collage-style editing overlaid on otherwise cleanly retouched photos play with the ideas of “perfect” and “imperfect” in depicting female beauty.

    Farihah #1