Saturday, April 20, 2013

My Grandma Sent Us Stamps

Reading List Beginnings

What do a recently widowed Senegalese teacher and a U.S. postal worker have in common? They encourage literacy, gracious giving and critical thinking!

The post office in my grandma's town, pop. < 100, cut its hours again. So she sent my parents stamps. Her gesture was called 'quaint' and 'cute', but her strength goes beyond ill-begotten adjectives. She's got ballsy support for a government-run agency in a time of BIG GOVERNMENT FEAR (can we put a muzzle on Rupert Murdoch's media empire already?). 

Go ahead. Write a letter. Read a book. 

The Jolly Postman or Other People's Letters by Janet & Allan Ahlberg

Get your hands on this book; try to ignore the 'man' in postman and its children's book genre. Filled with envelopes containing post for beloved storybook characters, it also speaks to the idea of otherness. The idiomatic Wicked Witch receives a catalog of enchanting stock like Little Boy Pie Mix ("For those unexpected visitors when the cupboard is bare"), Halloween boots (looking mysteriously like the boots I wore in elementary school and right now), and a Cup and Sorcerer tea service. The bottom of the green-tinged insert says, "For further details call 1-800-555-UGLY. NO BAD SPELLS PLEASE." To borrow a phrase from George W. Bush, the witch isn't ugly...Just don't mis-underestimate her.

So Long a Letter by Mariama

Fiction speaks to truth as Ramtoulaye writes letters to her friend while she goes through the grieving process. The trials and delights of family and the deep connection of a childhood-bourn friendship surpasses geopolitical boundaries and illuminates preconceived character judgments. Suitors come a-callin' and the plot develops with real life tragedies, but the book is also a balm for lost love and those who think letter writing is a practice from the past. Doesn't a FB post, text msg or tweet convey the same sentiment? Nope. 

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Needed! Subjects for Feminist Photo Project

I just had a donut with the rad Taylor Paino, a photographer who is exploring the concepts of vulnerability, confidence and feminism in her latest school project. Taylor's past projects have focused heavily on the history of feminism and she hopes to look to the present of the topic with her more recent work. To see some of her past work, check out her flickr page (the nude woman in an Irish church is an especially amazing shot, with a fantastic story).

Taylor is looking for awesome women to pose as subjects for her current project, which she describes with the following artist statement:

"I wish to meet with and photograph current feminists and have a conversation about what being a feminist in the 21st century means. What is the vocabulary we use, what are the causes we fight for, and where are we heading? In this “post-feminist” society, where do we stand? Within that conversation I want my subjects to show me their most vulnerable and their most confident. In a media-saturated culture littered with faux confidence and a hook-up culture void of vulnerability where do feminists stand in these two places and how does that define or help the feminist agenda?

Each woman I photograph will have the opportunity to decide what makes them feel the most vulnerable and the most confident. Whether that be an outfit, an object, a person, place, or lack of those things, I want these photographs to represent real women, real strength, and show beauty that is outside of our cultures norm. I will leave the choices of where they are, what they are wearing, and how much they are willing to show me up to the subjects and photograph them in more of a documentary style while holding a conversation with them about their passions, fears, and the future of feminism.

In my past photographic projects I feel like I have had a heavy footing in feminist history.