Tuesday, 15 June 2021

Margaret Bourke-White. Woman of Firsts.

"Margaret Bourke-White was a woman of firsts. The first woman to clamber over rivers of molten iron in the foundry and to face the heat of the furnaces in order to produce unusual, visionary industrial photographs. The first woman to tackle aerial photography ("if you find yourself eight hundred feet up, pretend it's only three, relax and get on calmly with your work", was her motto). The first woman to create a book with photos and essays on the Depression in the southern USA during the 1930s. The first woman to document Russia during the five-year plan and the only one to obtain a portrait session with Stalin. The first for whom the uniform of war correspondent was designed. And the first to record the horror of Buchenwald concentration camp, to document India at the moments of its separation from Pakistan and the only woman to capture an intense portrait of Mahatma Gandhi a few hours before his death...



...The first to go underground with miners in South Africa, to photograph in colour racial segregation in America. The first, above all, not to hide from the camera, becoming in her turn the subject of a reportage documenting, under the powerful and tender gaze of her colleague Alfred Eisenstaedt, her battle with Parkinson's disease, which would leave her immobile and lead to her death. In those moments, Margaret, who was renowned for her elegance and innate dress sense, was not afraid to show herself, old and frightened, in all her vulnerability."



"This was the first I heard the words I was to hear repeated thousands of times: "We didn’t know. We didn’t know." But they did know. I saw and photographed the piles of naked, lifeless bodies, the human skeletons in furnaces, the living skeletons who would die the next day because they had had to wait too long for deliverance. Buchenwald was more than the mind could grasp. People often ask me how it is possible to photograph such atrocities. I have to work with a veil over my mind. In photographing the murder camps, the protective veil was so tightly drawn that I hardly knew what I had taken until I saw prints of my own photographs. It was as though I was seeing these horrors for the first time."

"Mine is a life into which marriage doesn’t fit very well. If I had had children, I would have drawn creative inspiration from them, and shaped my work to them. Perhaps I would have worked on a children’s book, rather than going to wars. One life is not better than the other; it is just a different life."




text from, photographs taken (by MLM) at exhibition "Margaret Bourke-White. Prima, Donna.", Milan, Palazzo Reale.

Monday, 31 May 2021

Saturday, 29 May 2021

Dear ladies, please just disappear.

According to a British survey carried out among 2.000 women(!) aged 18 to 65 by Retire Savvy and commissioned by Diet Chef, women believe miniskirts would be a "no-no" for anyone aged 35 or more. Once you hit 36, text talk is no longer acceptable, 38, no tattoo, 39, no infamous night-club hotspots, 40, no see-through chiffon blouse, no holidays without family or partner, 41, no longer watching reality TV, 42, don't wear a football shirt, 44, no trainers (unless for sport), no discos, 45, no leggings, no Ugg boots, no more festivals, 47, no knee high boots, no bikini, no skinny jeans, no twitter, 49, delete your facebook profile, 51, no high heels, 51, no ponytail, 52, no longer staying out past midnight, 53, no long hair, 61, no swimsuit (via and via).

One in ten bought clothes and soon took them back to the shop fearing it was "too young" for them, 5% said they had been warned by a shop assistant the item was not right for their age. Women also often hear warning from friends and family (via and via and via).

Bollocks. After 43 you should walk past the queues of nightclubs, shoulders back, chest out – tits and teeth. Stride up to the bouncer and shake his hand. (...) And I couldn’t give a toss what people think. Although my grandson told me I was too old to wear Adidas Stan Smiths, while two Romanians stopped me in the toilets to shake my hand because I‘m 'DFC' – dead fucking cool. Confidentials's Gordo

In an article, published in The Guardian, Emma Soames claims that women lose their instinct for knowing what suits them as they get older. I think we should be more careful with these ideas and reflect on where they come from and what impact they have before selling them as facts. On the contrary, perhaps style is something that needs time to develop and people dress better the older they get. And, surely, there is one major issue Ms Soames is not seeing: People are judged mildly, if at all, for wearing "not suitable" clothes when young and judged more harshly when older. Since women's "fashion antennae just shrivel with age", she continues, they need "some sartorial rules". The first one: You need to dress "appropriately", avoid the ultra feminine and the very short, dress classically (via). 

No long hair, no high heels, no Ibiza, no facebook, no swimsuit... The message? Don't look like a woman, don't be active, don't have fun, don't go out. Just hide. Don't irritate with your presence. You no longer have a gender, you are either female or old. Dress in an age-appropriate manner and act your age by being invisible. That is the only way to age gracefully, by disappearing. We definitely still have a long way to go when it comes to raising awareness about the absurdities of internalised ageism.

photograph by Leon Levinstein via

Saturday, 22 May 2021

Statement of women taking over an abandoned building on 5th Street, N.Y.C., 1971

Because we want to develop our own culture,
Because we want to overcome stereotypes,
Because we refuse to have "equal rights" in a corrupt society,
Because we want to survive, grow, be ourselves...


We took over a building to put into action
with women those things essential to women
- health care, child care, food consipracy,
clothing and book exchange, gimme
women's shelter, a lesbian rights center,
interarts center, feminist school, drug rehabilitation.

We know the city does not provide for us.
Now we know the city will not allow us to provide for ourselves.
For this reason we were busted.
We were busted because we are women acting independently of men, independently of the system...
In other words, we are women being revolutionary.

-----
- cited in Weisman, L. K. (1981). Women's Environmental Rights: A Manifesto. In B. Marks et al. (eds.) Makring Room. Women and Architecture (6-8).
- photograph (Times Square, 1961) via

Thursday, 20 May 2021

Long Hair, Short Hair... Associations and Stereotypes

According to research findings, women with long and medium-length hair are rated more attractive than those with short hair. Hair has an impact on the perception of attraction but is less decisive than facial traits. In other words, beautiful women with short hair are rated more attractive than less beautiful women with long hair. In addition, attractive faces are connected with more desirable traits than hairdressing but hair is also used to make personality judgments: Long hair is associated with dominant, intelligent, feminine, healthy women, short hair is associated with honest, caring, emotional women (Bereczkei & Meskó, 2006).



- Bereczkei, T. & Meskó, N. (2006). Hair length, facial attractiveness, personality attribution: A multiple fitness model of hairdressing. Review of Psychology, 13, 35-42.
- photograph (Audrey Hepburn, 1953) via

Wednesday, 19 May 2021

Elfie Semotan: "Why should older women always look nice on photographs?"

"When other people take pictures of me, I always look like my aunt. Generally speaking, it seems to me that older women are always supposed to look nice on photographs. But I don't wish to look nice and friendly, I'd rather look cool.



(...) Just look at how older women are portrayed! A man can still be regarded as looking wonderful when his face shows wrinkles. When a woman's face reveals life and wrinkles, she is no longer attractive. Her face has to be smooth, the hair curly.

When fashion industry chooses older women, they are as beautiful as women in their forties, have no wrinkles. And if they have any, they wear huge, neon green glasses. Older women are never shown as older women. Photographs show them doing fitness, which is absurd. Why are men not taken pictures of that way? They have huge bellies which they confidently show and nobody would question or criticise their body or clothes. Obviously, when it comes to men, inner values count."
Elfie Semotan

"The female gaze is certainly different. I would like to say from the outset that the female gaze is one that perceives the entire surrounding – the children need something to eat, they are crying, there is work still to be done, and so on. The male gaze is focused. That is already a fundamental difference between female and male. And when I see naked women or men, my primary concern is that the models feel comfortable in their role, that they don’t feel exposed or that they have to pretend. When I photographed underwear, for example, it was very important to me that everyone felt very comfortable. And that everything was very loose. It was also rather comical."
Elfie Semotan

photograph (self portrait, 2000, © Elfie Semotan) via

Sunday, 16 May 2021

Quoting Sir Peter Ustinov

"Prejudices are the starting point of many accumulating disasters in this world. Beware stale opinions, dead opinions, inherited opinions, thoughtlessly adopted."
Sir Peter Ustinov



photograph via

Friday, 14 May 2021

Martha Cooper: Woman + Photographer.

Martha Cooper was the first women photographer at the New York Post and being the only one there she was often assigned weather related or "soft journalism" photographs since she was "only" a woman and only men could handle hard news such as politics and crime. Cooper went her own way and "shot what she wanted" ... but "she had to fight for it" (via).


::: Martha: A Picture Story: TRAILER



photographs via, via, via and via

Wednesday, 12 May 2021

Football World Cup Team Stereotypes

Here is a lovely collection of football stereotypes...



Germany: A bunch of teutonic robots who play unsexy but merciless and efficient football in rigid formations, and always seem to make at least the semi-finals of everything. They never crack under pressure, suffer injuries, or have major disciplinary issues.

Italy: Gesticulating prima donnas who worship at the altar of the beautiful game and fly into the air screaming and clutching at their limbs at the slightest tap. Often disappointments, but when everything clicks, (...), it’s beautiful.

England: A bunch of egotistical Premier League superstars who on paper should be dominant but can never quite figure out how to play together. No matter the tactical genius of whatever European coach has been brought in, they always end up just hoofing it downfield over and over and largely failing to score. Utterly doomed if things go to penalties.

Brazil: Forever the kings of football, whose legendary stars like Pele and Ronaldo could create goals out of nothing and dance around whole teams with a smile on their face.

Argentina: They run circles around everyone and score some of the most beautiful goals in football’s history, but they’re also dirty rotten cheaters. Wait, can you tell this is being written by an England fan?

United States: Chipper, harmless underdogs who just learned how to play “soccer” (lol wut) last week or so and probably compete in some sort of amateur league back home. Weirdly good at producing internationally renowned goalies. Can’t seem to decide on a color for their uniform—are they red? White? Blue? Some combination featuring stripes? (literally via)
_ _ _ _ _ _
photograph (Gigi Riva) via

Monday, 3 May 2021

Boy George: "past a certain age"

"For artists of my caliber, we're not played on the radio, so we don't really get a chance to get involved in that debate at all. We don't get a chance, because this weird kind of ageism exists in pop music. If you're past a certain age, you're not relevant. That's the kind of cliched term."
Boy George



photograph via