For you aren’t familiar with Petra Collins, you should be. The 24-year-old Canada native has made quite the name for herself with her photography and art, having worked with some of the top celebrities in the entertainment industry—the likes of Selena Gomez, Tyler the Creator, and Carly Rae Jepson.
While photography is her main game, Collins’ talents don’t stop there; she is also known for curating performances at the MOMA and directing music videos for well-known musical artists. Most recently, she was honored with a dinner at Nom Wah Tea Parlor in Chinatown by Gucci, as she is a campaign face for the company, where she marvels over how it felt to hold her book for the first time…which brings us to: “Coming of Age”.
Now, Collins has released a book “Coming of Age” with Rizzoli Publications, which features photography from her earliest days, as well as essays that detail her time growing up.
Refinery29 just recently did an extensive cover on Collins, where they chatted with her about where her idea came from and how the book came together. The article states:
” ‘I kind of couldn’t figure out what I wanted to do with the book,’ Collins tells Refinery29. ‘Originally I wanted to do a book of all new work, but I realized that I had never published my past in a tangible way. I really wanted a space to tell my story, and I thought it was an important way to not only close the chapter on my teenage life, but to also give context and background to my life, and why I take the photos I take, and I do the work that I do.’ “
Collins’ style is distinct and unique, most notably using soft colors, striking beams of light, and an intimate approach to capturing the female body. If Collins’ photos feel like they’re straight from a teenage dream, it’s because her photography vividly emulates her emotions as a teen girl, capturing her youth exactly as it was.
As one of the most influential female artists of our time, you’d think Collins was always comfortable with her favorite content: the female body. But that wasn’t always the case. Collins notes having difficultly in capturing the female body in a non-sexualizing way, and credits Ryan McGinley for influencing her delicate style in approaching this subject matter.
Though she is wildly successful for her age, that doesn’t mean her position doesn’t come with its own stuggles. Collins tells Refinery29, “I just don’t like how the female gaze is so gendered and it’s just put on. Like, I see so many articles out there that are like female gaze photographer, and I’m like, no, I’m an artist and I take photos, and just because I’m a woman doesn’t mean I have to be labeled that way.”
It’s incredibly fair for Collins to fear being boxed into a singular category, as her work traverses boundaries and is influential to women and men alike.
“Coming of Age” is now available on Amazon for $28.46.