Jodie Bateman is a fine-art photographer who was born and raised in South London. Her first interest was in the way that photography can convey social messages and how she could use the medium to express personal feelings.
Since converting to Islam in 2017 Bateman’s work started to shift and her interest now is in investigating and questioning the stereotypes associated with being a Muslim living in Western society. Bateman intends to expose the difficulties Muslims experience in the West, and hopes to bring awareness to the situation and ultimately a change in society’s attitudes. Bateman is particularly interested in how Muslim women have been poorly represented especially because of their choice to cover up and their dress style. Since migrating from London to the rural town of Godalming in Surrey her work began to focus on her presence as a Muslim woman in small town, English society. Bateman’s work explores the question of how to belong, she photographs herself and her family in thought provoking ways using medium format film photography, she challenges us to think again and to think in new ways about the people around us.
About My Hijab Has A Voice: Revisited – words by Jodie Bateman:
‘My Hijab Has A Voice: Revisited’ is a series of bold self-portraits with the occasional portrait. This project is an urgent yet necessary investigation into the experience of Muslim woman from an autobiographical perspective. It is vital to listen to Muslim woman’s voices as often they are silenced and spoken for by men. The freedom to express a woman’s perspective from their own point of view is crucial. Due to the lack of authentic voices being heard negative stigmas and stereotyping are perpetuated in the media. Often Muslim women are portrayed as ‘old fashioned’ or ‘backwards’ due to their choice to cover their bodies. Western society continuously feeds the stereotype of oppression. This is typically followed by acts of banning the niqab, burkini and even going to the lengths of banning the hijab in professional places in some countries. This series challenges society to see Muslim women differently by being invited into a Muslim women’s private space with the intention to ‘humanize’. The artist takes inspiration from historical paintings that are famous for their objectification of women. She poses herself and her sister to mimic the mannerisms and gestures of the paintings but challenges these conventions by having the subjects fully clothed and looking directly back at the viewer confronting the audience and outdated stereotypes.