The Real Princesses of Yorkshire is a photography project by Maria Spadafora, a Morley-based artist originally from Boston in Lincolnshire. Maria started ‘having a proper go’ at photography in her forties, and this is her first funded project as an artist. Support has come from Leeds Inspired, Arts Council Grants for the Arts and a crowdfunding campaign. It is also being supported by the host venue, Arts@Trinity.
The Real Princesses of Yorkshire offers a different take on the fairy-tale princess, a popular figure for inspiration and aspiration for young girls that’s always been a source of irritation for Maria, who finds them a bit shallow and restrictive. By taking the iconography of big princess frocks and tiaras and populating them strong, powerful, talented women from Yorkshire (including some in drag), the pictures poke a little fun whilst celebrating the diversity of real people. Nobody in these pictures is waiting to be saved by Prince Charming. Also, nobody is smiling:
“Women spend their lives being told to smile. And of course smiling is something you instantly feel you must do when having your picture taken. We hear a lot of references to ‘resting bitch face’ in popular culture these days, so I wanted to have a bit of fun with that.”
The idea grew from Maria’s annoyance that her brother’s child was being referred to as ‘my little princess’ whilst in the womb. She explains:
“They’d been told they were expecting a girl and we had nine months of ‘I can’t wait to meet my little Princess!’ and it bugged me no end! Not their excitement, but how that specific gender stereotype was being inflicted on an unborn child. Of course, they ended up having a boy and had to sell the many pink things they accumulated…”
And so, The Real Princesses of Yorkshire was born.
As part of the exhibition there will be a ‘Real Princess Ball’ featuring some of the photographed ‘Princesses’, who will be performing drag-queen inspired lip-syncs. This free event is open to the public and can be booked via Eventbrite:
Venue: Arts@Trinity, Holy Trinity Church, Boar Lane, Leeds LS1 6HW
Dates: 11th to 22nd September 2017 (not open Sunday 17th)
Times: Daily from 10:30am to 5pm
Real Princess Ball (launch night): Friday 15th Sept 7-9pm
For further images, quotes, interviews please contact Maria Spadafora
Tel: 07588 667746 email: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter/Instagram: @BloodyNoraDJ
A blog documents some of the theme/issues explored in making this project