When Cameron Pagett started his photo project “Girls and Summer,” he set out to capture pictures of women that would dig deeper than the standard male-gaze-y photos we normally think of connected to that phrase. He didn’t want more vacant, carefree images of women in bikinis. He longed to delve beneath the surface.
The women Pagett encountered lived in a world which he wasn’t a party to, and he found himself endlessly intrigued by their lives. Eventually, he realized that through photography he could get to know his subjects and maybe even capture some bit of the spark that made them glow. Through pairing interviews with his pictures, he began to create a more rounded narrative experience.
As Pagett photographed more and more women, he began to see how special the series was, and an exhibition started forming in his mind. Blending music (one of Pagett’s huge influences) with his photos, he created an immersive experience that captured the feelings of youth, our concept of femininity, and the impermanence of summer. An original score by Nick Rattigan tied the hybrid photography show / concert together.
Pagett’s images catch a fleeting glimpse of his subjects inner workings. His photographs invoke the vibrancy of the season, but also present us with a sense of loss — a longing for the warmth, the carefree days, and the vague sense that youth is forever slipping out of reach.
I spoke with Pagett recently and he shared his excitement over the buzz about his show. As a finalist in the Copenhagen Photo Festival, he hopes he will be chosen to remount the experience in Denmark this summer.