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by Jocelyn Lee

Sensual. Vibrant. Self-possessed. The women visualized in Sovereign are individual yet iconic in how Jocelyn Lee chooses to frame each one, subtly shifting focus and leading the viewer to engage subject and environment equally in the immersive scenes of her creation.

This selection of images of women over 55, complemented by still-life photographs from Lee's series "Dark Matter," confronts messaging that pushes women to consider how we might modify, rather than embrace, the process of aging. As Lee states, “It's time we revolutionize the image world and flood it full of real women in real bodies, feeling sensual and wonderful in their very human skin.” The desire to accomplish this is challenged by market realities; most of the images surrounding us glorify youth. Lee’s luscious works of still lifes and portraits provide a new mirror, reflecting the beauty, strength, and resilience with which she sees women within her community.

An essay by Dr. April Watson of the Nelson-Atkins Museum places the work within contemporary art historical context.

Jocelyn Lee (b. 1962, Naples, Italy; resides in Maine) received her BA in philosophy and visual arts from Yale University, and her MFA in photography from Hunter College. She taught at the Maine College of Art from 1993–2001, and Princeton University from 2003–2012. A 2001 Guggenheim Fellow, she is also the recipient of a New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) Fellowship, among others, and is the author of two previous monographs: Nowhere but Here (Steidl, 2010) and The Youngest Parents (DoubleTake, 1996).

Lee has been published in The New York Times Magazine, The New Yorker, New York magazine, Real Simple, Allegra (The Netherlands), DoubleTake, Harpers and others; her works are in numerous public and private collections, including Maison Européenne de la Photographie, Paris, France; The List Center at MIT, Cambridge, MA; The Museum Fokwang, Essen, Germany; The Portland Museum of Art; Portland, ME; The Nelson Atkins Museum, Kansas City, MO; The Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University, NC; and The Museum of Fine Arts Houston.

She is represented by Huxley-Parlour Gallery in London, and Flatland Gallery in Amsterdam.

Book Details: 

  • 10.375x 12.375
  • hardcover
  • 35 color images
  • 72 pages
  • Published by Minor Matters
  • Essay by Dr. April Watson, curator, photography
  • Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art