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Black Mountain Photographer Documents Gender Stereotypes While Living Them

Matt Peiken | BPR News

When she gave birth 2½ years ago, Rose Wind Jerome didn’t know she was having twins. The first child is her daughter, Evie. The second is the photography project for her master’s degree thesis.

“I got interested in these dynamics and these gender roles when I became a parent and started photographing in my home,” Jerome said.

More than a dozen photographs originally intended for an MFA exhibition derailed by the pandemic at the Savannah College of Art and Design are showing through April 3 at Revolve in Asheville

Jerome is a native of Germany who moved with her partner and Evie to Black Mountain two years ago. Before becoming a mother, Jerome largely worked in portraiture and saw her photos as windows into community. All the while, in trying to forge her career behind the lens, she observed a misogyny in the job market that relegated her to administrative or menial studio work.

 “I never noticed that as me being oppressed for me being a woman, but as I got older, I started to realize that’s what’s happening,” she said. “That was the (beginning) of my understanding of feminism.”

That understanding evolved and grew when Jerome noticed it happening in her own home, after giving birth. She turned the camera back on herself and her domestic life, at times focusing on a partner who she said doesn’t share the caretaker role.

The photos in this body of work are both documentary and conceptual, featuring all three people in the house. The muted amber color pallet casts a pall on this period, and while she leaves plenty of room for viewers to fill in the blanks of the story, Jerome is deliberate to obscure or cloud certain images of her partner. 

“To me those are ways of addressing what I see are absence on his part as a parent and as a father figure, but I also wanted to create a story in contrast to the dominant narrative of what we see in family photographer, where we only show the happy moments,” she said. “By exposing my life in a project like this, I open it up to conversations with people that family isn’t always perfect and it can still be beautiful.”

Matt Peiken, BPR’s first full-time arts journalist, has spent his entire career covering arts and culture.
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