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Femme Fotale brings femme-identifying photographers into focus

The Femme Fotale project was founded by four ASU alumnae two years ago


"Resistance, resilience & hope." Illustration published on Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2017.

A group of ASU alumnae is aiming to empower all femme-identifying individuals through a photography project entitled Femme Fotale. 

The project was created to give women an opportunity to showcase their photography in a way that is all inclusive. 

Briana Noonan, an ASU photography alumna, co-founded Femme Fotale along with fellow photographers Kit Abate, Sirrena Griego and Charissa Lucille. 

Noonan said that ASU and her degree “definitely has pushed us in the direction we're going now.” 

“When we say women photographers, it’s a whole spectrum,” Noonan said. “We’re looking to push women to the forefront of the arts, specifically in the photographic world.”

Noonan said the reason the four women came together to form the project was because they all went through experiences in which they felt they were disrespected because of their sex. 

“It was frustrating to see all of these other women go through these experiences, and so then we were like, the four of us should get together and create what we don't see,” Noonan said. 

Noonan said they found a lack of platforms aimed at supporting women photographers.

“There's not a lot of those platforms that exist right now, so maybe a total of three," she said. "But we live in a society that has how many people and how many projects, and it's really strange that only a few exist."

Each of their photography books has a different theme. The group is accepting submissions for their upcoming zine, "Resistance Resilience & Hope," until Sept. 29.

A post shared by Femme Fotale (@femmefotale) on

“Resistance isn't always about the protest you go to, resistance can be very small things that happen on a day to day basis,” Noonan said. 

Kit Abate, also an ASU photography alumna, is a co-founder of Femme Fotale, and directs most of the business and finances of the project. Abate said “zine culture” is very hands-on and independent.

“It's a lot of people who are creative and like-minded,” Abate said. “And instead of trying to work against a system that maybe doesn't want to publish those kind of materials, or isn't interested in those kind of stories, you can just do it yourself.”

Femme Fotale doesn’t make money, but they do break even, Abate said. She said that the point of making zines isn’t to profit, but rather for one’s own gratification. 

“I feel like that's also something about the zine-making culture," she said.  "You need to make it because you need to make it."

Abate said the photography marketplace is "skewed" because of whose art is shown — mostly white men. 

Hannah Manuelito, an ASU photography alumna, has submitted her photos to Femme Fotale before. She said photography became important to her when she began focusing on her Native American culture and identity. 

“At ASU is when photography really became important for me,” Manuelito said. “It involved my identity and having photography as a tool to help me during this identity crisis was very helpful.”

Manuelito said she plans on participating in future zines, as well as any other events Femme Fotale has. She found the project while actively looking to meet more female photographers, she said. 

“They're such a strong group of females, and they stand for something we don’t really see in the community,” Manuelito said.

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