Girl on Film: Petra Collins is More Rad Than You Know

Fashion and art photographer Petra Collins is suddenly everywhere, for all the right reasons.


Photography: Petra Collins (Polaroid), Norman Wong (Collins)

We knew Toronto image-maker Petra Collins was going places when we covered her lady-centric OCAD University exhibit, Period Piece: The Gynolandscape, last April. (It later moved to New York, where crowds thronged and critics cheered.) Clearly, the 21-year-old has ascended beyond capturing wistful teenage beauties for Rookie mag. In 2013, her T-shirt for American Apparel depicting a menstruating vagina prompted both outrage and celebration; she became a voice against censorship when a waist-down portrait got her thrown off Instagram; she pushed the female form at a group show during Art Basel Miami; and she appeared in Vice-boy-gone-high-art-star Ryan McGinley’s latest body of work. From Diane Arbus in the ’50s to Deborah Turbeville in the ’70s and ’80s to Corinne Day in the ’90s, fashion photography has always relied on a small group of women to bash conventions and hurl it to the next level of art. Ms. Collins, welcome to the club.