Fenyw is a self-published documentary series. The photographs reflect a current zeitgeist characterized by explorations of female identity, femininity, sexuality and really awkward teenage years. I called the book, Fenyw, (Welsh for ‘woman’) as a dedication to all the women in my family who are all powerful individuals and above all fierce.
This generation of women have grown up with the Internet; this has had a profound effect on our mental stability regarding body image and acceptance. I’m a big girl. I have Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, which means I have cysts on my ovaries and my symptoms involve irregular and heavy periods, facial hair, spots, excessive weight gain and difficulty getting pregnant. This condition goes against all expectations of being a traditional woman. Being a woman is shit sometimes, we are still facing sexist remarks, struggling for equal pay and our periods are treated as a taboo. Other then that bollocks, I love being a woman, womanhood is a state of mind and a commitment to social action. This book of photographs, a book about women: identity, puberty, sexuality, physical & mental disability. All the women featured follow these themes and are made into chapters.
We first look at Eadie, Amber & Isabella. In this chapter, we explore premature development in puberty. These women grew up in a New Age Traveller Community. This free-living lifestyle and outlook on life have contributed to the lifestyle choices they make today, the girls have all left that environment since and pursuing careers. We went back to their roots and explored how it affected their femininity.
Billie & Merty, two women who have always shared a close friendship with each other have in the last year expressed their sexuality within companionship. Although not identifying as lesbians, both follow what this generation is demanding, normalisation for sexual fluidity.
Honor, my cousin was born with a physical disability but this has never disenchanted her femininity. At age eighteen, a crucial age for a woman on the verge of leaving childhood and becoming an adult, Honor has both moved out of her family home and is in further education. I made frequent visits to her halls of residence in Swansea and photographed our time together.
Lauren, 15, avoids it all and ignores it all and focuses on finding herself. I enjoyed photographing Lauren as it reminded me the pureness of being almost a child again and not facing adult choices. At age 22 I have no idea what it means to be a teenager in today’s online world, I imagine it’s hellish, not only finding out your identity but providing one online too.
Aderyn, this is the most personal chapter, documenting my sister’s femininity, this mental state conflicts her womanhood in maturity and appearance. We are so very close (even time-wise, our age difference is 10 months) therefore this chapter expresses our sisterly bond.
I would like to thank the women featured; Eadie, Amber, Isabella, Lauren & Helen, Billie, Merty, Honor, and Aderyn in making this series possible.
Zine versions are available to purchase via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Megan Winstone is a documentary and editorial photographer based in Cardiff, who has recently started an MA in Commercial Photography at Arts University Bournemouth after graduating from her BA in 2017.
Winstone has a keen interest in feminist and social issues, from documenting thriving communities in South Wales Valleys to editorials challenging achievements in 4th Wave Feminism. Winstone has had her work featured online in Lens Culture, Hysteria Magazine and Vogue Photo.
Other than photography, Winstone has made Zines that involve stories, illustrations and lookbooks, and has lead Zine making workshops at Chapter, Made in Roath and WOW Festival (Woman Of the World Festival) at the Wales Millennium Centre.