Gunwomen in America
Professor's art explores firearms and the feminine
By Iman Naim | Photo by Carolyn Richardson
Nancy Floyd's interest in the representation of gunslingers was born of a real-life tragedy: Her brother, Jimmy, a marksman who wanted to become a gunsmith, was killed in the Vietnam War.
As a photographer, the assistant professor of art has taken aim at the firearm as an accessory for women - the main focus of her work is women who pack heat.
"I'm interested in how women came to access guns. Have women always shot guns? How did the relationship between women and guns develop over the years?" Floyd says. "The truth is, we've always been a gun culture."
In her 2008 book, "She's Got a Gun," Floyd interviewed and photographed American gunwomen in entertainment, those armed in self-defense or the line of duty, and sport shooters. More recently, she's begun using video in her work. Last year, she filmed Abby Fong, a member of the U.S. World Cup rifle team and 2012 Olympic hopeful, in training.
Floyd's work has been showcased in numerous galleries and museums, including the Smithsonian Institute and the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center. Last spring, her photography was featured in the "Heroines" exhibit at the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum in Madrid, Spain.
Although Floyd has been happily dedicated to photography for 31 years - 15 of which have been as an instructor at GSU - there was a time when she considered very different professions. In college, she ventured into the pre-veterinary field, but realized that science wasn't her forte. She also was a recreational administration major for a year. Neither path appealed to her as much as photography did.
"I've always loved photography and nothing else kept my interest," she says.