Pictorials featuring women and guns tend to heavily sexualize both subjects. Just Google “Women with Guns”. You’ll get a mixture of both professionally shot photos and photos from guys on ARFcom who want to show off their rebounds after that messy second divorce. A lot of the pics are, on some level, pornographic. They exist to elicit a response of lustful desire for the acquisition of the female, the weapon, or maybe both. Since we live in a free society, it’s entirely the prerogative of the consenting adults in the photos to exhibit themselves or their gats in whatever fashion they choose. Volumes have been written on the subject as to what constitutes art vs. pornography. We could easily get into the argument of nude vs. naked a la Wendy Beckett or whether “operator” poses are the updated equivalent of Robert Mapplethorpe’s self-portrait below . . .
Whatever your opinion on the matter, an upcoming book by photographer Shelley Calton, should spark conversation and might make an excellent edition to your coffee table. Entitled Concealed, She’s Got a Gun, the book explores, in the artist’s own words, “what, in the collective feminine experience, drives women to acquire an instrument that can kill, and how they interact with it in their daily routines.” Here’s a partial review on the New York Times Lens blog.
Refreshingly, the photos take no political stances. There are no anti-gun messages nor are there any molon labe stickers hanging about. The women aren’t intentionally posed in a sexy manner. The artist went so far as to take a CHL class to better understand self-defense from her subjects’ perspective which adds a nice touch. The women were not photographed as some sort of anti-Second Amendment anthropological curiosity but as actual human beings exercising their natural rights.
Like all art, the photos are open to the viewer’s interpretation. You can view the portfolio here on there artist’s website.