Having built a solid reputation in staged, concept-driven photography, in her new series Frieke Janssens questions the feeling of being a single woman and the search for a lover as a kind of hunting. By introducing the theme of Diana, the ancient Roman goddess of the moon and patroness of hunting and virginity, the photographer engaged a string of luscious top models to pose for her as Dianas. All of the models are distinctly feminine and tall referring to the height of Diana’s stature. They carry typical attributes – be it a lunar crown, a wood stock air rifle, a robust bow, a mighty, dreadful eagle or a herd of hounds. The huntresses are often adorned with leather boots, exquisite garments and eye-catching jewelry made of feathers. The women are pictured in the silence of the early, misty morning, surrounded by a woodland pond or grass, reed and wild plants.

Known for her enduring commitment in the creation of uncanny, narrative stills, Janssens makes fascinating picturesque tableaux. The bodies of the Dianas are like statues, breakable or rather detached and rough. Most of the models have a strong, venturous, inaccessible appearance. However an underlying refined fragility is always near. With their daunting gaze they look like the opposite of a submissive, spineless woman. Others conceal a more servile, compliant attitude. They seem to prefer a silent hunt. They evoke impenetrable mystery. The series creates a beautiful synergy between both.

With their female vigour, the mythological figures govern the fates of all things. Almost all men depicted in the series have been brought down. They are fallen – reduced to a hunting trophy, a coveted prey. Except for the lonely black man in the wood. Without any possibility of resisting the divine will, he seems to be hiding for the death that one of the Dianas will bring upon him. He is no longer the master of creation. He has become a creature in itself hiding away from the inevitable. © Sofie Crabbé

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