Pamkowski captures body image from the inside out

‘’Cluster Face’ is part of Pamkowski’s series, “Headshots/Bodyshots.” (Courtesy of Julie Pamkowski)

Adjunct Professor and multimedia artist Julie Pamkowski’s photography portfolio, “Headshots/Bodyshots,” features images of sculptures constructed from pieces of ordinary plastic baby dolls turned inside-out.

To achieve the effect, Pamkowski warped, cut and rearranged the doll parts using clips to hold them in place. She then took snapshots of the results, and the effect is meant to showcase the shiny and smooth texture of the plastic.

Pamkowski expressed that the sculptures are meant to be metaphors for angst and violence.

“My work definitely comes from a feminist perspective,” Pamkowski stated. “I have grave concerns for female rights, and my anxiety about those issues are translated into my art.

“So for instance, I manipulated the dolls in ‘Headshots/Bodyshots’ to look like deformed fetuses. The way I cut and tore and reconstructed the dolls are representative of things like the womb, female reproductive systems, (and) the female body. And these subjects are all politically charged.”

In her deconstruction society’s views on women’s rights and the female form, Pamkowski notes a childlike playfulness.

“There is this very playful side to it. You know how some kids destroy their dolls? Well, I’m doing the same thing. I’m ultimately playing with dolls. And I love that duplicity.”

As an artist, Pamkowski incorporates polarizing themes in her work.

“Attraction and repulsion is very important to me. These images of reassembled plastic doll parts, while unsettling, are also beautiful. And in these sculptures, I turned some of the doll parts inside out as a psychological representation of emotions and thoughts that are internal, and (fused) them with the exterior, physical shell. ”

Pamkowski values photography as a medium through which she can more easily manipulate how her audience sees her sculptures.

“Using photography, I can control the lighting and make the viewers see what I want them to see. I’m taking this regular, everyday doll that you buy at Kmart and turning it into this grotesque object.”

“Headshots/Bodyshots” represents what society tells us not to expose. “I use art to understand and interpret the world around me, and this series in particular is to express my discontent with how we handle issues regarding women’s rights.”

Pamkowski has a masters degree in Fine Arts in Combined Media from the University at Albany. Her work has been featured in the Fulton Street Gallery in Troy, NY and Opalka Gallery of Albany, NY. SUNY Albany granted Pamkowski the Initiatives for Women Merit-Based Award. Pamkowski has recently taught at SUNY Albany, instructing students in Beginning Photography and Digital Imaging.

At Union, Professor Pamkowski teaches Photography 1 and 2 as well as working with Senior Thesis students and independent studiers focused in photography. Pamkowski will serve as sabbatical replacement for Visual Arts Professor Martin Benjamin until his return in March.

Check out Pamkowski’s series, “Headshots/Bodyshots” at



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