Taylor Yocom: Art Project Shows Lengths Women Go To For Self-Defense

A stirring and provocative photo series from a University Of Iowa art student has been drawing more and more attention over the last days thanks to its vivid depiction of the weapons women use for self-defense.

22-year-old Taylor Yocom was the individual who created the series, and the Des Moines native has found her stock rise during her last days as a student because of her work. And it’s easy to see why. You can check out a selection of her impressive pictures, which are part of the collection entitled Guarded, below.

Yocom has explained to the Huffington Post UK that she felt compelled to create these images and take these photographs to highlight the sheer amount of women who are sexually assaulted throughout their lifetimes.

“I started the project in response to a discussion before class in early 2014. Many of the women were pulling out their rape whistles and mace to show each other what they have on their keychain to make themselves feel safe on their walks home.

“The men in the room were pretty taken aback that we even had to think about this. That moment really hit me…that this was a reality that had a pretty divisive gender line. At the time I was in a photography class and had a final assignment to create a cohesive body of work. Shooting Guarded made sense.”

After this experience, Yocom decided to start gathering people together for the portraits over the next 12 months. This saw her speak to a number of her fellow students, while, according to KCRG, she even contacted models that she met at the Pedestrian Mall.

Taylor Yocom’s Guarded project is currently on display at Public Space One in Iowa City until May 31.

[Image via Huff Post/Huff Post/Huff Post/Expertises]