The Confections series began as a response to turning 30. It was a celebration of birthdays, color, pattern and obsessive absurdity. My original idea was to bake 30 birthday cakes for myself and photograph them. I didn't quite make it to 30 cakes in time for my thesis show, but I sure got a lot of ideas from those first cakes. I ordered a kit from marthastewart.com and watched an instructional video on decorating cakes. When I quickly discovered my cakes were never going to look like the ones in the video and the pamphlet, I decided they were better off in their exuberantly imperfect states.
With over 70 cakes constructed to date, I’m often asked, "Why still with the cakes?" Cakes are the centerpieces of celebrations and symbolic trophies evoking nostalgia and awe. Historically, cake has played a significant role in women's lives. Women have used the cake as both an outlet for creativity and as a symbol of female power politics. In my constructions of these photographs, I am commentating on not only cake itself as a rich cultural symbol, but on the domestic fantasy world of contemporary home decorating and cooking magazines and television shows. It's a fantasy world where entertaining, cooking and decorating unite. It's a place where one needs to have a beautiful home, decorated seasonally, in order to entertain friends with gourmet meals and elaborately concocted desserts.
Amy Stevens grew up in the American Southwest. She earned a BFA in photography and a certificate in Women’s Studies from Arizona State University and an MFA in photography from Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia. Stevens has participated in group and solo shows in Seattle, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Boston, Los Angeles, Chicago and Montreal. In 2007, she completed a two-year career development fellowship with the Center for Emerging Visual Artists and was awarded an Individual Artist Fellowship from the Independence Foundation. Stevens has notably shown in the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Delaware Art Museum, Photo LA, Photographic Center Northwest, Philadelphia International Airport and Maryland Art Place. In 2009, Amy was announced a U.S. winner in Magenta Foundation’s Flash Forward Emerging Photographer’s competition, which included a published book and a traveling group exhibition at Lennox Contemporary in Toronto, FotoWeek D.C. and the Griffin Museum of Photography in Winchester, MA. She was recently awarded a Fleisher Wind Challenge exhibition and honorarium for a three-person show, held in 2011.