Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Honoring Female Photographers on Int'l Women's Day

I'm a huge photography buff. With all the running around I do it's hard to make time to notice the little things, but when I'm confronted with a powerful image, it almost demands that I stop and take a moment to contemplate it for a while, and when I do it brings my mind down from 100 mph to maybe 20. Like taking a relaxing bath. In real life it's impolite to stare at someone, but pictures want us to gaze at them, at our leisure, unhurriedly. Taking a long, hard look and noticing the details that make it special. And that's why I quickly signed up for the panel & slideshow entitled Women In Photography hosted by B&H Photo this past Sunday. It was in honor of the little known (at least here in the US) International Woman's Day, which is March 10th.

There were five fantastic women of all ages presenting their 'best of the best' portfolios. Barbara Bordnick started out as one of the only women fashion photographers in the industry and then went on to do portraits (she did an amazing series of women in jazz which you can find in her site), and nudes, and then - the flowers, which came about as a happy accident when she had to find something to photograph quickly. Wow. Georgia O'Keefe taken to the upteenth level. Heavenly.

Then came Arlene Collins, who contrary to Barbara, does her work outside the studio, in the outdoors, or on location. She showed us some early shots she took of boxers in the Bronx, rodeos in New Jersey (see right - cowboys in the Garden State - who knew?), and later the Middle East and New Guinea.

She was followed by Jill Enfield, who specializes in hand coloring photographs (like the one on the left), and Scout Tufankjian, who followed Barak Obama on the campaign trail and was able to document all the different ways that people responded to the candidate.

Kate Engelbrecht came last. She started out shooting weddings and then moved on to family documentaries, or still photo essays that tell "a day in the life" of a family. Looking to move into a new direction, she recently created The Girl Project, to chronicle what it's like to be a young women in today's world. Her goal is to get 5,000 girls to participate so that she can compile a book and then do a traveling show. At first she sent out emails to her friends and family asking them if they knew and teenage girls for the project. Sadly she only got back two replies. But then she created a Facebook page and it went viral. (I have to include at least one element of social media in my posts, and here it is!).

Kate sends out disposable cameras to whoever signs up and then she uploads them onto the TGP site. Some of the girls also get interviewed on the TGP blog and the pictures also get posted on the TGP Flikr page. The images really tell a story. They give us an inside peek at how teenage girls see themselves, and Kate says she was surprised to find that they're more innocent than they seem. Right now she's bankrolling this all herself, but I can see how this could be a perfect fit for a sponsor. Dove, are you listening?

Kuddos to B&H for setting up such an inspiring event (for free!) , but it's very smart of them to provide photography fans with another way to feed their passion, to learn something and interact with each other, while at the same time visiting the store (and perhaps buying something).

How are you celebrating National Women's Day?

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1 comment:

Monica said...

Wonderful entry Carmina! Hey! Can you talk to B&H to see if they would consider giving their events in other cities? (mention San Juan first!!) (grin). Wish I had been there!