New Article: Amihay, Color Photography and Self-Outing in Jewish Women’s Comics

Amihay, Ofra. “Red Diapers, Pink Stories. Color Photography and Self-Outing in Jewish Women’s Comics.” Image & Narrative 16.2 (2015): 42-64.

URL: http://www.imageandnarrative.be/index.php/imagenarrative/article/view/811

 

Abstract

In this essay, I analyze the function of color photography in autobiographical comics through a comparative analysis of confessional works of comics by two Jewish women artists, Jewish-American cartoonist Dianne Noomin’s 2003 comics spread “I Was a Red Diaper Baby” and Israeli cartoonist Ilana Zeffren’s Pink Story (written in Hebrew). While exploring the tensions evoked in these works between comics and photography and between black-and-white and color representations, I highlight an important difference in the nature of the images used in each work, evoking yet another tension: that between private and public. I demonstrate that these works by Noomin and Zeffren represent the array of private and public photographs available to any autobiographer, ranging from public images taken from posters, magazines, and video screenshots to intimate family snapshots. I argue that the choice between personal and public photographs in these works poetically determines the path of self-outing in each work, thus representing the two key options for such an act of self-outing, namely, using the personal sphere as a path to the public one or vice-versa. Finally, I address the role of Jewish identity in these two self-outing comics. I posit that while Jewish heritage is not a major factor in either work, the fact that in both cases the community of reference is a minority group within a Jewish community plays a significant role, introducing specific dilemmas into the already complicated identity struggle. By shedding light on the unique function of color photography in autobiographical comics about ethnographically charged self- outing experiences, the analysis of these specific works introduces to a wider audience two important yet insufficiently explored voices of women cartoonists.

 

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