Photographer Marianna Rothen explores questions of feminine intimacy and identity. In her latest captivating series, Mail Order, she flips the classic power dynamic between women and men, making the men the literal objects, and the women – the protagonists.
The female protagonist, played by Rothen herself, creates her “perfect” man and makes him dress, pose and perform his manhood in the ways she demands. The men themselves are actually mannequins, making for a comical if a bit scary effect.
“I started photographing these kinds of women because I felt they were often depicted in a one dimensional way,” she told Lomography. “I wanted to show them from the female perspective and create something relatable not only to myself but to other women.”
“A lot of my inspiration is also from images we’ve already seen before and I alter and re-portray the subjects by changing the context. I’ve always seen the damsel in distress as a woman who has the ability to be strong, just like the crazy lady who’s acting out of character.”
Reminiscent of Cindy Sherman, Rothen works both digitally and with film. “Each image is captured with a digital camera and then photographed again with Polaroid film which is then scanned,” she explained. “This way of working became a necessity when Polaroid stopped producing and the film became expensive. It was important to keep Polaroid in the equation because I didn’t want to lose the photographic quality.”