Margaret LeJeune: The Modern Day Diana
This series is the result of artist Margaret LeJeune's five-year journey across the United States photographing women in gun clubs and hunting networks.
ABOUT THE EXHIBIT
In 2007 artist Margaret LeJeune relocated from upstate New York to rural Arkansas to take a teaching position. In her female photo students' portraits she found a culture of hunting and gun ownership that embodied a seemingly paradoxical feminism. Seeking to connect to her new community, LeJeune started out on a five-year journey that took her across the United States, meeting and photographing women in gun clubs and hunting networks. The Modern Day Diana, is LeJeune's series of environmental portraits of these women hunters.
These photographs invite viewers into a multidimensional conversation about contemporary feminism, hunting, our relationship with (and responsibility to) the natural world, and–by virtue of the artist's title–the archetype of Diana, often imagined as an emblem of fiercely independently women.
Neither heroic nor sexualized, the women hunters pictured in these portraits invite us to look both at and beyond their passion for hunting, to see their strength, independence, self-sufficiency, and multidimensionality. The majority of the self-selected subjects are European American-evidence that the legacy of race-based gun ownership laws in this country remains charged-but the women pictured here represent a spectrum of interests, ages, economic circumstances, and identities. The pleasurable and intimate voyeurism afforded by environmental portraits illuminates the subjects' lives, providing texture and dimension that resists easy categorization.