Melissa Faithful for Art-Sheep
Taylor Yocom is an Iowa-based artist specializing in mixed media and photography. She is well known for her photo set, Guarded, a series that depicts women holding items they carry to protect themselves from an attack.
By asking them not to smile, the 23-year-old artist photographed women from her college campus, after being inspired by a discussion they had regarding the issue of rape and how they would protect themselves in a case of an assault.
This work stands as a response to rape culture, as the photographer captures women holding objects that are so common and commonly-used in our everyday life, but their use changes when they put them in their bags with the thought they can keep them safe.
“In creating this project, I hope to expand the viewers’ mindset: to rethink the statistics about rape and assault, to visualize that one in four women are assaulted in their lifetime, as a personal reality not a meaningless number,” she states on her website.