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The Antelope

The Antelope

Artist looks back on women’s ad images


Sydney Norris

Antelope staff

Photographer Darlene Kaczmarczyck looks with a critical eye at the role and image of women in her work. “I am very interested in how women are portrayed and spoken to, particularly in advertising,” said Kaczmarczyck as she shared with students her series depicting the roles women play in society now as opposed to the roles they played back in the 20th century.

Born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, Kaczmarczyck began her journey with photography 40 years ago. It all started when Kaczmarczyck borrowed a friend’s film camera while on a camping trip.

After seeing the final product of her first 12 photos, Kaczmarczyck decided photography was something she wanted to pursue and she did just that.  “My work is about the effect of advertising on perceptions of women’s behaviors and their roles in the world,” said Kaczmarczyck on Thursday, Sept. 14 while speaking to a student group.

She particularly focuses on the role advertisements play in our day-to-day lives. With different projects all based around a similar theme, Kaczmarczyck discussed her tips, tricks and ideas to a willing audience.

Of the five different series displayed in the Walker Art Gallery, the one that first caught the viewers’ eye was her series “Life-Size (and other lies).” The large prints hung on the wall and all have a consistent theme: a pink kitchen with a logo that says “Life Size.”

“One of my graduate students saw that kitchen in an antique store window,” said Kaczmarczyck with a smile. “It led to a whole body of work.”

This particular series showed the role of women in the household, wearing dresses in the kitchen. “So much of what I was told I was supposed to be came from television,” Kaczmarczyck said. She, however, never felt she fit into that stereotypical role and wants to show women of all backgrounds that they can play different roles in society. “The women in the images don’t fit in the kitchen literally and figuratively. They don’t fit,” Kaczmarczyck said.

Kaczmarczyck recently retired from Kendall College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and says she now has the “luxury” of spending her time fostering dogs for shelters and traveling around the states presenting her work.

Her series “Life-Size (and other lies)” was captured on film and printed digitally. Kaczmarczyck’s uses both film and digital cameras and prints her work either digitally or in the dark room, all in color. “My heart is with darkroom work, I love darkroom work; I love the hands-on craft aspect of it,” Kaczmarczyck said.

Though the show has closed, you can check out Kaczmarczyck’s work at

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