Under Pressure

Photographs and words by Guia Besana

Through a suite of 10 large-scale photographs, Under Pressure illustrates women playing endless parts in our unstable society which persistently solicits us with contradictory messages. Women are directed to represent or translate, into a mise-en-scène, a specific conflicting theme: burn-out, marriage, ideal love, the search for happiness, the relationship with one’s own body, technology…

Subject: Under Pressure: Condition 7
Message: As I sit in my office in New York City — working on a Saturday in December, while my husband is home with our two kids because, fortunately, he was able to avoid working today — I turned to CNN for a brief break and came across Under Pressure. I was particularly struck by Condition 7. Condition 7’s many layers capture perfectly how I feel many days as a full-time, working mother of two in a professional and high-stress job with a husband who is also in an equally professional, full-time, high-stress job. Thank you for “getting it” and capturing it so beautifully.

Kind regards,


“I wanted to create a discussion and represent a contradiction. [Women are expected] to be ‘appropriate’ and ’empowered’ all at once, which can create conflict, and this is what Under Pressure is about.”


“An incredibly powerful and empowering piece. After a day in corporate America, I come home to my second job, which includes inspiring my three college-aged daughters to ‘Aim High’ so they can make choices for themselves, and never need to rely on a husband or boyfriend…”

“Powerful images that resonate with me. These photos reflect what women endure everyday.”
—Linda Jones

All messages courtesy of sender and Guia Besana.

Guia Besana was born in 1972 in Italy. She is a self-taught photographer who originally studied media and communication. She is currently living in Paris, France. Guia’s work focuses particular attention on women’s issues, female roles within society, as mothers and workers. She explores the female identity and emotions. She is often published on CNN, Huffington Post, International New York Times, Marie Claire and Vanity Fair. She has been recognised by many prestigious awards in photography including Marie Claire International Award, Associated Press Awards and the Professional Women Photographers Awards. She was a finalist in the Julia Margaret Cameron Award and the Leica Oskar Barnack Award. She has exhibited all over the world.

nineteensixtyeight presents a selection of 10 images from the series Under Pressure, available to buy in our shop.

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