Local artist Taylor Yocom is taking her ‘Guarded’ photo series on the road

Taylor Yocom's Guarded
Taylor Yocom’s Guarded highlights what women carry in self defense.

After receiving nationwide attention for her Guarded photo series, recent University of Iowa alum Taylor Yocom has announced she’s taking her project on the road to other university campuses. The series, recently on display at Public Space One, highlights the prevalence of sexual assault in our society and the subsequent ways women protect themselves.

Although no official commitments have been made at this time, Yocom says she’s collaborating with multiple universities in an effort to expand the project and raise awareness of sexual assault issues on their campuses. It’s less common for universities to coordinate programming over the summer, she says, noting that several schools plan to reach out come August.

Yocom says the series, which features stark photos of woman holding various objects for self-protection, began as a class project. When she posted it to her personal Tumblr page, however, the project became a viral hit and drew enormous amounts of attention. Since then, the series has been featured in numerous major news outlets, including BuzzFeed and the Huffington Post.

Despite an outpouring of support, Yocom says some critics have misunderstood the intent of the series. One commenter, for instance, suggested she display firearms in her photo series, arguing that it’s a better form of protection.

“It’s not a how-to guide,” Yocom said. “If I were photographing and a women had a gun and wanted that to be photographed, I wouldn’t tell her ‘No, that’s not my narrative.’”

Yocom says the response has been largely positive, regardless of the critics.

“I’m getting so many emails from women saying that this project is validating their own feelings,” Yocom said. “Seeing that is pretty powerful and a pretty good counter to those arguments.“

Moving forward, Yocom says she’s considering a few stylistic changes to the project as she visits other colleges and universities, such as incorporating varying backgrounds into her portraits.

Thoughts? Tips? A cute picture of a dog? Share them with LV »


World of Bikes presents:


Come talk with our experts about ways to stay on the bike this winter! Find out more at World of Bikes.

Get Started


Muscatine, Iowa


Come to Muscatine for all your Holiday shopping and visit all of our unique and locally owned shops and restaurants!

Visit Muscatine

The Future is Unwritten

You look to Little Village for today’s stories. Your sustaining support will help us write tomorrow’s.


$10/mo or $120/year
The cost of doing this work really adds up! Your contribution at this level will cover telephone and internet expenses for one month at the LV editorial offices.


$20/mo or $240/year
$240 is enough to cover one month’s costs for sending out our weekly entertainment newsletter, The Weekender. Make a contribution at this level to put a little more oomph on your support and your weekend.


$30/mo or $360/year
(AUTO-RENEW) connects eastern Iowa culture with the world. Your contribution at this level will cover the site’s hosting costs for three months. A bold move for our boldest supporters!

All monthly and annual contributors receive:

  • Recognition on our Supporters page (aliases welcome)
  • Exclusive early access when we release new half-price gift cards
  • Access to a secret Facebook group where you can connect with other supporters and discuss the latest news and upcoming events (and maybe swap pet pics?) with the LV staff
  • Invitations to periodic publisher chats (held virtually for now) to meet with Matt and give him a piece of your mind, ask your burning questions and hear more about the future plans for Little Village, Bread & Butter Magazine, Witching Hour Festival and our other endeavors.