After moving to Philadelphia from Fort Collins, Colorado, artist Hannah Price started experiencing street harassment for the first time, and she came up with a novel way to respond to it: she turned her camera on the men who catcalled her. In a fascinating interview with The Morning News, Price describes how she takes the portraits: “Once a guy catcalls me, depending on the situation, I would either candidly take their photographor walk up to them and ask if I can take their photograph. They usually agree and we talk about our lives as I make their portrait.”
The resulting images are mesmerizing for a number of reasons. First of all, the pictures create a moment of genuine connection between Price and the men who openly harassed her. You can tell which of the men were willing to talk to her, which ones were hesitant to be photographed, which ones felt shame when asked to appear on camera. Price’s decision to engage these men instead of averting her eyes and quickening her pace takes the anonymity out of the catcalling equation.
I was also struck by how vulnerable some of the men in the photos look. Every woman knows how small and vulnerable being catcalled can make you feel — to see some of the men behind these taunts show their own vulnerability turns the entire dynamic on its head. Price’s photos remind us that these men are human. Their behavior is disgusting, their view of women is appalling, but they’re not monsters. They are complex, confused humans.
Hopefully, the interaction also reminded them that Price and every other woman they mistreat is a human too, deserving of kindness and respect.
Check out all of the portraits at Hannah Price’s website, and kudos to Price for creating such a brave and thought-provoking photo series.