Anonymous Women by Patty Carroll | Yellowtrace

Anonymous Women by Patty Carroll | Yellowtrace

Anonymous Women by Patty Carroll | Yellowtrace

Anonymous Women by Patty Carroll | Yellowtrace
Wallpaper Yellow.

Anonymous Women by Patty Carroll | Yellowtrace


In honour of International Women’s Day, we’re showing some love to American photographer Patty Carroll’s ongoing series Anonymous Women, which explores the dichotomy of domesticity, and what ‘the home’ means to different women.

Carroll suggests that sometimes, home is a place of comfort, where being a ‘stay at home’ mother or wife is an aspirational lifestyle. Simultaneously, home can camouflage individual identity when a house-proud obsession with décor, presentation, and status dictates one’s sense of self. Carroll came to these realizations when decorating her own 1950’s ranch house, mulling over her own relationship to her home throughout vintage foraging sprees.

In any and all cases, Carroll asserts that women need “a room of their own.” The series’ cross-cultural references span Renaissance-era draped statues, nuns in habits, women wearing the burka, priests and judge’s robes, ancient Greek and Roman dress, and the Virgin Mary among others.


Related: Photographer Reverses Gender Roles In A Clever Interpretation Of Sexist Vintage Ads.


Anonymous Women by Patty Carroll | Yellowtrace

Anonymous Women by Patty Carroll | Yellowtrace
Old Lace.

Anonymous Women by Patty Carroll | Yellowtrace
Trophy Wife.

Anonymous Women by Patty Carroll | Yellowtrace


Carroll’s sets are whimsical and highly stylised, each image distinct from the other. One anonymous woman sits languidly amongst a monochrome, muted violet room, covered by the same purple velvet that upholsters her chair, framed by crystal lamps; a ‘boudoir’ aesthetic. Another figure is shrouded and surrounded by bright, bold Moroccan rugs. The anonymous women are the only common thread between each image.

The women are faceless, hidden, and therefore representative of any woman. They appear restrained, muffled, relaxed, cocooned; a lot lies with individual interpretation. But for all the potentially sinister meanings one could glean from the series, Carroll’s approach is far from brooding or depressive. Rather, she takes a wry approach, using humour to hint at bigger issues pertaining to womankind.

The accompanying video series shows women attempting to complete household chores or everyday functions while burdened under the swaths of material, such as watering a plant or opening an umbrella. The women are almost entirely camouflaged amongst the home sets, reminiscent of being ‘part of the furniture’. Whether that’s a good or bad thing, Carroll leaves the viewer to decide.


Related: The Woman Who Never Existed: Photography Project by Anja Niemi.



[Images courtesy of Patty Carroll.]


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