In Chicks with Guns, Lindsay McCrum has created a cultural portrait of women gun owners in America through photographs that are both beautiful and in a sense unexpected.
Like the 15-20 million women gun owners in this country, the women we meet in Chicks with Guns ( their portraits are accompanied by their own words), reside in all regions of the country, come from all levels of society, and participate seriously in diverse shooting activities. The women here are sportswomen, hunters, and competition shooters. Some use guns on their jobs and some for self-defense. They may not all be classically beautiful, but in these photographs they all look beautiful, exuding honesty, confidence, poise, power and pride. They are real women with real guns that play a part in their lives. By focusing her camera respectfully on this particular aspect of the American scene, gun-wielding women and girls, Lindsay McCrum sheds new light on who we are in America today.
“Usually women with guns are turned into comic book characters — Lara Croft, Kill Bill — and I thought it would be fascinating to find out who the real women in our country are who own guns,” she says.
After three years and 280 photo shoots, McCrum chose 80 compelling and thoughtful frames for her book. Each photo is accompanied by quotes from the subjects about their history or feelings on gun ownership.
For McCrum, Chicks with Guns is not an attempt to enter the ideological debate about guns. Instead, she says she tried to harness the visceral power of photography to provide a more rounded, honest picture of what women gun owners look like today.
Some of the frames in the book are certainly what one would expect — a policewoman with her shotgun, a woman in a cowboy hat in front of a picturesque Western backdrop. Others are more surprising.
In one picture, a woman holds her naked three-year-old son in her left hand and her grandfather’s shotgun in her right. In another, an older woman stands in the middle of her living room surrounded by dolls and teddy bears.
“All these women were extraordinary, they were excited and generous with their time, and I cannot tell you how many told me that were so happy to be seen and heard,” says McCrum.
PRAISE FOR CHICKS WITH GUNS
"I opened this sizeable hardcover to one of the 80 photographic plates, and started going through the glossy pages, at first only noticing the striking beauty of the full-page photographs and the women who were the subjects. I found myself wondering if they were just models holding guns as props, until I began to read the personal statements on each adjacent page. Written in the women’s own words, it seemed to me that their stories read like something from the pages of Field & Stream, and I wanted to know more."--Field & Stream
"Photographer Lindsay McCrum has turned her lens on women who pack heat--and her pictures make for a fascinating book. In Chicks with Guns McCrum's subjects express their passion for firearms in their own words, but it's the photographs, which lend a hint of Gainsborough to heiresses and ranch girls alike, that convey how stylish, seductive, and fun the shooting life can be." - W Magazine
"McCrum's portrait project is full of contradictions and complexity, of ironies and sublime beauty. . . .The pairing of these stories with McCrum's photography makes this book absolutely seductive."--Publishers Weekly
“Don’t be deceived by the frisky title: Lindsay McCrum’s Chicks with Guns is a deadly (sorry) serious work of cultural iconography. It’s also visually stunning, alternately sexy, arresting, haunting and mesmerizing. In so many words, this book hits every bull’s-eye—a real stunner.” — Christopher Buckley, author of Thank You for Smoking and Losing Mum and Pup: A Memoir
“A work of art in photography, Chicks with Guns is an instant classic. Any who read the text and reflect on the stunning portraits will come away with a new appreciation of the not unusual or surprising love affair between women and their firearms.” —R. L. Wilson, firearms expert, author of Silk and Steel: Women at Arms