Photo: Cat Palmer
Images set trends, trends inspire fashion, fashion shapes beauty and beauty is all about perception. Change your perception during November’s Gallery Stroll with a new exhibit at the Hive Gallery in Trolley Square by photographer Cat Palmer.
Cat Palmer, winner of a 2007 & 2008 City Weekly Artys award as well as Best In Show 2009 at the Utah Arts Festival, is accustomed to capturing beauty in all its forms, and she knows that when inspiration walks by, you have to chase it down and maybe even yell, “I’ve been thinking about you!” One day while sitting at the Utah Arts Festival watching the sea of people, Palmer noticed a young woman who embodied grace, self-confidence and femininity all without a lock of hair on her head. Throughout the summer, Palmer would find herself running into this woman—obviously the universe was trying to connect the two. Palmer, who is not the stalker type, explains, “I became obsessed with women who had shaved heads and it turns out when you’re looking for them, you can find them everywhere.” The project seemed pretty straightforward: Find 10 women who already had shaved heads or would be willing to shave their heads and be photographed in bright flowing sundresses. It turns out the flowery dresses were almost a deal breaker for a few of the women. The dresses are an important part of the concept, though. They serve a staging and styling purpose, encouraging the viewer to really see the subjects as feminine women, but also add a new element for Palmer, taking her out of her comfort zone of blacks and whites and into a new world of color.
An abundance of women volunteered for the project—14 by the day of the shoot. Paula J. Dahlberg, an award-winning hair stylist, who, for obvious reasons, would benefit from having a full stylish do, agreed to have her head shaved as long as her good friend Steven Robertson got to do the shaving. The stories vary—some shaved their heads for Locks of Love or donated to Matter of Trust, an organization that will take any length of hair to fill nylons, which capture oil spilled in the Gulf of Mexico. Some of the women just needed to be free from the time-consuming daily regimen and others shaved their heads as if shedding life’s baggage and starting anew. Whatever the reason, each woman had a real conviction for shaving her head and a great raw energy. “I ask each of my models to fill out a few questions, a little homework,” Palmer explains. “This group’s answers have kept me up reading all night—they are all so profound and each has approached this project with a rare and raw honesty.”
Palmer was so inspired by the sea of shaved heads that she too shaved her head the day of the shoot. In my opinion, she’s just as beautiful as ever and taking that leap is amazingly brave!
Meet these inspiring women and celebrate the diverse ways a woman in 2010 can express her femininity. Opening reception is November 19 during the monthly Gallery Stroll from 6-9 p.m.