KIRSTY MACKAY, UNITED KINGDOM

UNITED KINGDOM: WHAT’S SO BAD ABOUT PINK?

“My favourite colour was yellow” is the title of a photo series about girls in the UK by Glasgow-born photographer Kirsty Mackay, and a nod to her own biography.

For some, the color pink, dominating in Mackay’s pictures, has become a symbol of a consumption-driven manipulation of girls. The protest organization ‘Pinkstinks’, for example, criticizes the industry for tempting girls (and their parents) with products that reinforce obsolete gender stereotypes.  

Mackay herself points out that pink hasn’t always been a symbol for femininity. In the 19th century, white was the recommended color for babies. Or blue for girls and pink for boys. It is only since the 1980s, according to US professor Jo B. Paoletti, that pink has become a strongly feminine color and “has reached the level of moral imperative in the age group of three to seven”.

But is it really a problem when little Flo sweeps the floor in front of her pink playhouse with a pink broom, wearing a pink dress? Kirsty Mackay has a more relaxed view on the issue. She states that the girls she photographed were very proud of their pink bedrooms and that the pink phase has become a right of passage. Most of them would come out the other side before adolescence anyway.

Curriculum Vitae: Kirsty Mackay (Institute)

Portrait: Kirsty Mackay (Institute)

© Kirsty Mackay (Institute)

Born in Glasgow, Kirsty Mackay studied photography before moving to New York and then London to work as a photographer’s assistant. She has assisted world class photographers - Nick Knight, Anton Corbijn, Herb Ritts and Albert Watson. As her focus changed to concentrate on her own work, she went on to study an MA in Documentary photography at the renowned school of photography in Newport, Wales.

Her work has been exhibited in the UK and across Europe. Her first book ‘My Favourite Colour Was Yellow’, a project documenting the prevalence of the colour pink, amongst young girls in the UK, will be published later this year.

Exhibitions and Festivals 2005 - Newport MA Documentary Photography, Final year show, Fotogallery, Cardiff. 2013 - Diffusion International Photography Festival, Cardiff. 2014 - Gooseflesh, group show Street Level Photoworks, Glasgow. - Krakow Photomonth Festival 2015 - Documenting Britain, group show, Street Level Photoworks, Glasgow. - A Tale of two Cities, European Prospects show, Stuttgart. - Triennial of Photography, Hamburg. - Transizioni festival, Bologna. - Diffusion International Photography festival. - Photogazebook, Sicily. - Just Another Photo Festival, featured artist New Dheli. 2016 - ‘My Favourite Colour Was Yellow’, selected for first book and dummy table, Photobook, Bristol. - ‘My Favourite Colour Was Yellow’, selected for first book and dummy table, Photogazebook, Sicily.

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