Monday 28 October 2019

Spock, the Outsider Struggling to Understand Humanity

"Leonard Nimoy inspired many boys and girls, men and women, to embrace cultural diversity."
Robert Greene

"Spock’s importance to the Trek mythos is unmistakable. His character was the first of several characters in Star Trek used to explore the human condition. Data in The Next Generation, Odo in Deep Space Nine, Seven of Nine and The Doctor in Voyager, T’Pol in Enterprise: all these characters are just different incarnations of Spock, the outsider struggling to understand humanity. He was the consummate outsider to the rest of the Enterprise crew. In a sense, we could all relate to Spock. When have you felt misunderstood, alone, or isolated? Or have you ever experienced being stuck between two worlds, two cultures, two distinct ways of thinking? In that case you were, for a moment, Spock."
Robert Greene

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 photograph of Leonard Nimoy (Westwood, California, 1966) via

Friday 25 October 2019

Speaking to the Whole Family of Humankind. Nichelle Nichols, NASA Recruiter (1977)

"I had always been proud of our feats in space. But something always bothered me: Where are the women? Where are the people of color?"
Nichelle Nichols

The United States landed a man on the moon in 1969 -- but our astronauts needn't be limited to white males.
There were no women, and there were no minorities in the space program -- and that's supposed to represent the whole country?
Not in this day and age. We just absolutely cannot have that. I can't be a part of that. 
I was somewhat of a celebrity in their eyes. I had gone on television and in several interviews spoke of why they should get involved, and they took it up and said 'she's absolutely right'.
Nichelle Nichols
In the 1960s, spaceflight was a (white) male-dominated programme. After Kennedy's speech to the nation calling for Congress to give "all Americans the right to be served in facilities which are open to the public", Kennedy and Johnson (at the time Vice President) "took steps to create more inclusive job opportunities as part of the buildup for the Apollo lunar landing program" and NASA started to encourage black US-Americans to work at one of their facilities. Initially, progress was rather slow. In 1967, Robert Henry Lawrence Jr. (1935-1967) became NASA's first black astronaut, Guy Bluford was the first black US-American to fly in space in 1983 - the same year Sally Ride became the first US-American woman in space (via) who, by the way, had heard about the space programme through Nichelle Nichols (via).
In an unprecedented move, knowing that NASA was planning to hire approximately 200,000 people in Southern states, recruiters were asked to travel around the country trying to persuade African-American scientists and engineers to work in the space program.
Janet Petro

Nichelle Nichols was hired to change the face of NASA by recruiting women and minority astronauts such as Ronald McNairSally Ride and Mae Jamison (via). She promised to bring "many qualified women and minority astronaut applicants"...
When NASA was developing the Space Shuttle in the 1970s, it needed to recruit a new group of astronauts to fly the vehicle, deploy the satellites, and perform the science experiments, and was encouraging women and minorities to apply to be astronauts. The Agency hired Nichelle Nichols, who played Lt. Nyota Uhura as the Communications Officer on the Starship Enterprise in Star Trek, to record a recruiting video. She came to JSC in March 1977, and accompanied by Apollo 12 and Skylab 3 astronaut Alan L. Bean, toured the center and filmed scenes for the video in Mission Control and other facilities. NASA hoped that her stature and popularity would encourage women and minorities to apply, and indeed they did. In January 1978, when NASA announced the selection of 35 new astronauts, among them for the first time were women and minorities
John Uri, NASA Johnson Space Center
...and kept her promise.
I am going to bring you so many qualified women and minority astronaut applicants for this position that if you don't choose one… everybody in the newspapers across the country will know about it.
Suddenly the people who were responding were the bigger Trekkers you ever saw. They truly believed what I said… it was a very successful endeavor. It changed the face of the astronaut corp forever.
Nichelle Nichols

"Hi, I'm Nichelle Nichols but I still feel a little bit like Lieutenant Uhura on the Starship Enterprise. You know, now there is a 20th century enterprise, an actual space vehicle built by NASA and designed to put us into the business of space. (...) The shuttle may even be used to build a space station in order to orbit the earth. And this would require the services of people with a variety of skills and qualifications. (...) Now, the shuttle will be taking scientists and engineers, men and women of all races into space just like the astronaut crew on the Starship Enterprise. So that is why I'm speaking to the whole family of humankind - minorities and women alike. If you qualify and would like to be an astronaut, now is the time. This is your NASA, a space agency embarked on a mission to improve the quality of life on planet earth right now."

Related postings:

::: The Future of Women Astronauts Seen From 1962: LINK
::: The Nonstereotypical Role of Lieutenant Uhura: LINK
::: Public Library: LINK
::: Nichelle Nichols. Her Legacy Project: LINK
::: "It's as simple as that.": LINK
::: Tomorrowland & The Cultural Lag Theory: LINK

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- images via and via
- NASA 1977 recruitment film

Thursday 24 October 2019

Media and the Muslim Terrorist

Terrorist attacks receive press coverage. There is, however, a disparity in media coverage based on the perpetrators' religion as the following figures clearly show: an average of 15 headlines if the attack is carried out by a non-Muslim vs 105 headlines if it is committed by a Muslim extremist. In other words, terrorist attacks committed by Muslims receive 357% more press coverage (via).

Controlling for target type, fatalities, and being arrested, attacks by Muslim perpetrators received, on average, 357% more coverage than other attacks. Our results are robust against a number of counterarguments. The disparities in news coverage of attacks based on the perpetrator’s religion may explain why members of the public tend to fear the “Muslim terrorist” while ignoring other threats. More representative coverage could help to bring public perception in line with reality.
Kearns et al., 2017
Between 2008 and 2016, rightwing terrorists committed twice as many attacks as Muslim extremists (via), however, we seem to mainly remember the ones committed by the latter. And this is no coincidence. According to a recent study, media are rather reluctant to label far-right attackers as terrorists; Islamist extremists are three times more likely to be called terrorists (via). Media coverage plays a crucial role in shaping our perception of social groups.

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- Kearns, E. M., Betus, A. E. & Lemieux, A. F. (2017). Why Do Some Terrorist Attacks Receive More Media Attention Than Others? Justice Quarterly, 36(6), 985-1022.
- photograph via

Monday 21 October 2019

Immigration Man (Graham Nash, 1972)

"It’s a song that sounds as grimly relevant as ever with its aching chorus: “Let me in / Let me in / immigration man / Can I cross the line and pray?”"
Rob LeDonne

Graham Nash wrote the song "Immigration Man" after "an unfortunate moment" he had with a US Customs official when entering the country (he became a naturalised US citizen in 1978). The official held him up drawing the attention of the people around them who came up to Nash asking him for his autograph. Finally, Nash was allowed to go through but he did not forget the incident. For the cover of the sheet music he chose a photograph of earth taken from space: "When you look at a photograph of the earth you don't see any borders. That realisation is where our hope as a planet lies." (via)
I would really have loved the perspective of the astronauts. To stand on the f—ing moon and look back at the Earth — how beautiful, right? But when you see the first photograph of the Earth Rise, there’s no boundaries. There’s no borders. There’s no f—ing walls. There’s just this blue marble in space.
It’s really funny because a lot of people think that space is out there, but as we’re eating our lunch, we’re in space. So that’s why I put that photo on the sheet music. I wanted people to know. How many countries are in the world now? No, no, it’s just one planet!
Graham Nash
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The song on YouTube:
::: Immigration Man: LISTEN
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There I was at the immigration scene
Shining and feeling clean, could it be a sin?
I got stopped by the immigration man
He said he doesn't know if he can let me in

Let me in, immigration man
Can I cross your line and pray?
I can stay another day, won't you let me in, immigration man?
I won't toe your line today, I can't see it anyway

There he was with his immigration face
Giving me a paper chase but the sun was coming
'Cos all at once he looked into my space
And stamped a number all over my face and he sent me running

Come on and let me in, immigration man
Can I cross your line and pray?
I can stay another day, won't you let me in, immigration man?
I won't toe your line today, I can't see it anyway

Here I am with my immigration form and it's big enough to keep me warm
When a cold wind's coming, go where you will
As long as you think you can, you'd better watch out
Watch out for the man anywhere you're going

Come on and let me in, immigration man
Can I cross your line and pray?
I can stay another day, won't you let me in, immigration man?
I won't toe your line today, I can't see it anyway

lyrics via

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photograph of Graham Nash taken by (c) Barry Schultz in The Hague in 1974 via

Thursday 17 October 2019

Capucine on Women Screenwriters

Interviewer: (....) And of course male screenwriters almost invariably give more dialogue to male characters.
Capucine: That is why I think it is much more important or influential for women to write movies than to direct them. It is the writers who give us what we see and hear on the screen.

- Hadleigh, B. (2016). Hollywood Lesbians. From Garbo to Foster. Riverdale: Riverdale Avenue Books.
- photograph of Germaine Hélène Irène Lefebvre "Capucine" (1928-1990) via

Tuesday 15 October 2019

Leonard Nimoy Boldly Went Where No Photographer Had Gone Before

" I didn’t realise it until after he died – for whatever reason, I’d just never done the mental arithmetic – but Leonard Nimoy is responsible for the single most transformative moment of my life. In a very tangible way, Leonard Nimoy saved me."
Lindy West

(...) it’s one particular area of Nimoy’s art and activism that, for me, transcended appreciation and actually changed my life, and I’m surprised by how few people in my circle know about it. In 2007, Nimoy published a collection of photographs he titled The Full Body Project. The photos are in black and white, and they feature a group of women laughing, smiling, embracing, gazing fearlessly into the camera. In one, they sway indolently like the Three Graces; in another they recreate Herb Ritts’s iconic pile of supermodels. The women are naked, and the women are fat.

When Nimoy’s photos took their first brief viral trip around the internet, I clicked, I skimmed, I shrugged, I clicked away.

I clicked back.

I couldn’t stop looking. It was the first time in my life – I realise in retrospect – that I’d seen bodies like mine honoured instead of lampooned, presented with dignity instead of scorn, displayed as objects of beauty instead of as punchlines. It feels bizarre to put myself back in that headspace now (and even more bizarre to register just how recent it was), but looking at Nimoy’s photographs was my very first exposure to the concept that my body was just as deserving of autonomy and respect as any thin body. Not only that, but my bigness is powerful.

Up until that point, I conceived of myself as an unfinished thing – a life suspended until I could fix what was wrong with me. It’s how fat people are conditioned to feel: you’re not a person, you’re a before picture. You have no present and no future; you’re trapped for ever in a shameful past. As a woman, the shame is compounded, because women have an aesthetic duty, too.

(...) for me, Nimoy’s Full Body Project was the first piece of media that told me I had any intrinsic value. Denying people access to value is an incredibly insidious form of emotional violence, one that our culture wields aggressively and liberally to keep marginalised groups small and quiet. Everything in my life – my career, my relationships, my health, my bank account, my sleep schedule, my wardrobe – has got better since I began fighting that paradigm. I live long, and I prosper. Thank you, Leonard.

Lindy West, excerpts via/full article: LINK

The average American woman, according to articles I've read, weighs 25 per cent more than the models who are showing the clothes they are being sold. So, most women will not be able to look like those models. But they're being presented with clothes, cosmetics, surgery, diet pills, diet programs, therapy, with the idea that they can aspire to look like those people. It's a big, big industry. Billions of dollars. And the cruelest part of it is that these women are being told, 'You don't look right.'
Leonard Nimoy
Leonard Nimoy spent eight years working on his "Fully Body Project" which he published in 2007. He photographed members of the plus-sized burlesque group "The Fat-Bottom Revue" in the nude. Nimoy wanted to portray proud women who were dancing and laughing, he wanted to show that beauty could be found in different body types since he was disturbed by the fact that overweight women had "this terrible feeling about themselves" (via). As some observed, Leonard Nimoy boldly went where no (or hardly any) photographer had gone before (via).
In these pictures these women are proudly wearing their own skin. They respect themselves and I hope that my images convey that to others.
Leonard Nimoy

In an interview, Nimoy talked about how the project started and how he felt about it:

Actually, it began with an individual lady who came to me after a presentation I was doing. It was a seminar of some previous work. And she said to me you're working with a particular body-type model, which was true at the time. She said, I'm not of that type; I'm of a different body type. Will you be interested in working with me? And she was a very, very large lady. And this was in Northern California - I have a home up there - and we invited her to our studio in the home and photographed her there.
And that was the first time I had photographed a person of that size and shape, that kind of body type, and it was scary. I was uncomfortable, nervous - my wife was there to help. I was not sure exactly how to go about it or whether I would do her justice. I didn't know quite how to treat this figure.
And I think that's a reflection of something that's prevalent in our culture. I think, in general, we are sort of conditioned to see a different body type as acceptable and maybe look away when the other body type arrives. It was my first introduction of that kind of work. And when I showed some of that work, there was a lot of interest. And it led me to a new consciousness about the fact that so many people live in body types that are not the type that's being sold by fashion models.
(...) Heather MacAllister, who formed the group, was an anthropologist by training. And during one of our sessions, I said to her, what are you doing with your anthropological training? And she said, I'm doing this, meaning this Fat-Bottom Revue. And she went on further to say, whenever a fat person steps on stage to perform, and it's not the butt of a joke, that's a political statement. And I found that quite profound.

Leonard Nimoy, excerpts via/full article: LINK

photographs of Leonard Nimoy and Sandra Zober (Westwood, California, 1966) via

Monday 14 October 2019

Exposing the Cruelty and Injustice of Segregation: Bob Adelman

"He was in the belly of the beast, in the middle of what was going on. Whether it was civil rights or gay rights, Bob was there. He was amazing. How many individuals do you know who marched with Dr. Martin Luther King? He was a white Jewish photographer and he also photographed Malcolm X."
James Cavello

Adelman himself was white, yet his personal involvement with the Civil Rights Movement often makes his images seem more than just documentary. He had an ability to convey the humanity of his subjects, whether an unnamed demonstrator holding an “I Am a Man” signboard in Memphis in 1968 or Martin Luther King, Jr, delivering his 1963 “I Have a Dream” speech in Washington, DC.
Alison Meier
Adelman has moved beyond the familiar clichés of most documentary photography into that rare sphere wherein technical ability and social vision combine to create a work of art.
Ralph Ellison
Robert Melvin "Bob" Adelman (1930-2016) was the photographer known for chronicling the civil rights movement of the 1960s including the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom (and of Martin Luther King giving his "I Have a Dream" speech) and the Selma to Montgomery March and. He was "drawn to the sit-ins staged by young students across the American South" and volunteered to take photographs for the Congress of Racial Equality when he was a young man. His involvement with civil rights issues continued for decades (via).
It was probably the greatest display of the people’s right to protest that I’ve ever participated in.
Bob Adelman on the Selma to Montgomery March
Adelman had access to Martin Luther King and other civil rights activists such as James Baldwin. His photographs were published in Life, Look, and the New York Times Sunday Magazine. Adelman was an atheist but felt that his covering the civil rights movement and exposing both the injustice and cruelty of segregation was his way of "doing the Lord's work" (via).
And of course the treatment of the demonstrators was very disturbing to me, and their courage was very moving. I was a political idealist, so I went on a Freedom Ride to Maryland and eventually I became the National photographer for CORE (Congress of Racial Equality) and I worked with SNCC (the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee) too. For me to get involved in something, I had to see some purpose in it. I realized that my involvement would be very dangerous, but I had a long think with myself, and decided that this was something worth risking your life for. The photographs were very important. They were used as evidence in court cases, they were used to raise money for the movement.
Bob Adelman
My life’s work, in addition to being about race relations, is about the many and diverse social concerns in the great tradition of American documentary photography: poverty, mental illness, alcoholism, inadequate housing, the immigrant experience, prostitution, delinquency, illiteracy and on and on.
Bob Adelman
When I photographed, I was intent on telling the truth as best I saw it and then to help in doing something about it. It was a constant effort not only to document in as honest a way as I could, and to make what I was seeing vivid, but to figure out how to change things.
Bob Adelman
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photograph of Bob Adelman (Selma toMontgomery, 1965) via

Friday 11 October 2019

One Tweet Every 20 Seconds

"These results back up what women have long been saying – that Twitter is endemic with racism, misogyny and homophobia."
Kate Allen

228.000 tweets sent to 778 women journalists and politicians in the UK and US in 2017 were studied. That year alone, 1.1 million abusive tweets were sent to women which equals an average of one tweet every 20 seconds. Black women were "disproportionally targeted" as they were 87% more likely than white women to be mentioned in problematic tweets (via).

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photograph of "Lois Lane" Margot Kidder (1948-2018) via

Wednesday 9 October 2019

Desmond Tutu on Climate Apartheid

Back in the 1970s and 1980s, one of our most important levers in overcoming apartheid was the support of global corporations that heeded the call to divest. Apartheid became a global enemy; now it is climate change’s turn.

Yet energy companies are continuing to explore for new fossil fuel reserves that environmental scientists say we will never be able to use. By the time those reserves are tapped, global temperatures will have risen so high that the world as we know it will have ceased to exist. July was not only the hottest month on record globally but also the 415th consecutive month with temperatures above the 20th century average. If not checked now, climate change will wreck all progress people have made in their understanding of the values of equality, shared responsibility, human rights and justice since the second world war and lay to waste the UN Sustainable Development Goals for 2030.

Former UN chief Ban Ki-moon’s blunt warning that we can “delay and pay” for climate change or “plan and prosper” is a clarion call to action, but will those holding the reins of economic power have heard him? The rich and powerful must be persuaded to pay. They have caused most of the mess we are in. Their obligations are not legal; they are based in ethics and human values.

Sadly, the leaders of some of the largest contributors to climate change show little interest in human rights and justice. The prospect of what some are terming climate apartheid, in which the rich pay to protect themselves from the worst impacts while the poor take the full hit is becoming depressingly real.

Desmond Tutu, 3 October 2019

full text see/excerpts via: Financial Times "Climate change is the apartheid of our times"

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Related postings:
::: Quoting Desmond Tutu: LINK
::: Desmond Tutu's Letter to Aung San Suu Kyi: LINK
::: "It doesn't matter where we worship or what we call God...": LINK

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photograph via

Monday 7 October 2019

Martine Franck. The Photographer Who Found Exclusion Repellent.

Martine Franck (1938-2012) was born in Antwerp, spent her childhood in England and the U.S., and studied art history in Madrid and Paris. She started her career as a photographer as an assistant at Life magazine and joined Magnum in 1980. In 1970, she married Henri Cartier-Bresson, one founding member of Magnum Photos. Franck "made portraits of artists and writers, but her main focus was humanitarian reportages". In 1985, her collaboration with the Little Brothers of the Poor began, a "network of non-profit volunteer-based organizations committed to relieving isolation and loneliness among the elderly" (via).

Franck captured "singular visual moments with memorable elegance and wit" (via).

"Throughout her career Martine Franck oscilated between on the one hand photographing some of the world’s most famous artists and on the other, the most anonymous of subjects: those seemingly rendered invisible in society. Franck’s work dwelled upon the marginalised: the poor and the elderly. The latter form a particularly poigniant subsection of her archive, and many of her most touching images of the elderly were collected in the book ‘Le Temps de Vieillir‘ (A Time to Grow Old) – published by Éditions Denoël in Paris, in 1980."
Magnum Photos

"Martine Franck found exclusion repellent: the exclusion of women, of Tibetans, the elderly, refugees, the inhabitants of Tory Island. She became an activist in support of many of the causes she photographed, demonstrating great courage in a well-brought up young woman who had been taught not to cross boundaries. She explained: ‘The camera is itself a frontier… and to cross on to the other side, you can only get there by momentarily forgetting yourself."
Magnum Photos

“Taking a portrait of someone – be it man or woman – starts with a conversation. It is important for me to try and catch the person when they are listening or when they are in a pensive mood or have forgotten my presence. I rarely ask a person to pose for me as I prefer that they reveal themselves as they wish. For me the eyes and the hands are most important and when possible I like to use natural light. All through my life as a photographer I have made a point of photographing women whom I admire, who have done something special with their lives, who have protested against their fate, also those close to me, like my daughter and grand-daughter and intimate friends all of whom appear in this collection.”
Martine Franck

photographs (Paris, 1972) via and (Paris, 1977) via and (Nanterre, 1978) via and (France, 1980) via and (Worthing) via and (New York, 1979) via and (Paris, 1978) via

Friday 4 October 2019

Narrative images: Memorial Service

Coretta Scott King, wife of Martin Luther King Jr., attends a memorial service for her slain husband in 1968.

photograph by Bob Adelman via

Thursday 3 October 2019

"Il me faisait peur, ce monsieur." Michel Piccoli's Political Conscience

Jacques Daniel Michel Piccoli was born in Paris in 1925. Experiencing the war when he was very young shaped him. Perhaps the moment he heard Hitler when he was listening to the radio in the late 1930s was the beginning of him developing a political conscience: "Il me faisait peur, ce monsieur."
Piccoli has always been outspoken. Whether his political activism might have harmed his career as an actor is a question he does not think about. "It may have closed some doors but I have never thought about it." (via)

In 1999, when the Freedom Party of Austria scored its biggest political victory and formed a coalition government - "the first time a party with Nazi origins had become part of a European government since the end of World War II" - an "unprecedented response" from the European Union followed since there was a serious breach of the principles of "liberty, democracy, respect for human rights, fundamental freedoms and the rule of law" (via). In Austria, people protested. One large-scale demonstration took place in Vienna on 19 February 2000 and one of the participants was Michel Piccoli who had gone to Vienna to demonstrate with the Austrians against the far-right coalition (via).

In an interview, Simone Signoret recalled that she, together with Michel Piccoli and Serge Reggiani, once mistakenly arrived two days early for a political demonstration and commented that had they been great scholars they probably would not have attracted "embarrrassing attention and received sympathetic hearing". Her conclusion was: "Moralité, faites donc du cinéma!" (Moores, 1991). Thank you, Monsieur Piccoli, for lending your name to the cause.

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- Moores, P. M. (1991). Celebrities in Politics: Simone Signoret and Yves Montand. In J. Gaffney & E. Kolinsky (eds.) Political Culture in France and Germany (130-154). London & New York: Routledge
- photograph by Jean Ber (1988) via

Wednesday 2 October 2019

Men Taking Selfies vs Women Taking Selfies

In their study, Sedgewick, Flath, and Elias (2017) collected 962 (508 women, 454 men) profile photographs from Tinder in order to analyse gender differences in the way heterosexual men and women wanted to be perceived by the opposite sex. The results were consistent with the predictions: Men's selfies were angled significantly more often from below while women's selfies were angled more often from above. The authors come to the conclusion that - intuitively or consciously - the illusion of a height disparity is created which again is consistent with height ideals of the opposite sex: Men's selfies from below "facilitate the perception of tallness", women's selfies from above "convey relative shortness".

Several more studies support the prediction that men and women use different strategies with the first taking selfies from above and the latter from below. Makhanova, McNulty, and Maner (2017) discuss reasons in addition to the illusion of height disparity. By taking their photographs in a low relative physical position, women "highlight their youthful features and appear attractive" while men "highlight their size and appear dominant" when they portray themselves in a high relative physical position.
Women were perceived as more attractive when they were photographed from above and that’s particularly because they were perceived as younger and thinner from those angles.
For men, perceived attractiveness wasn’t affected by camera angle. Dominance, however, was. When viewing photographs shot from below, male evaluators looking at photographs of other men found them to be more dominant. “Men were only doing this for other men, and incidentally only men were picking up on this as a cue.” (via)

Diane Cleverly surveyed 352 selfies and found that the same small number of men and women displayed Duchenne or genuine, authentic smiles while significantly more women favoured the non-genuine, polite Pan Am smile compared to men who preferred neutral expressions.
I believe that the social norm of pressuring women to smile, and women feeling as though smiling improves social interactions, might be so ingrained that they tend to smile subconsciously, even when taking selfies in a home setting with no other people around. Men may not be as aware of their facial expressions or may not care for the look of their face smiling. So they take a more neutral expression selfie. Other reasons could include the fact that women take more selfies than men and are more “practiced” at smiling for selfies, albeit not an authentic, emotional smile, or that people taking selfies tend to copy magazine advertisements, which more typically show women smiling, and men non-smiling. (via)

Döring, Reif and Poeschl (2016) investigated gender stereotyping in selfies with a quantitative content analysis of 500 selfies (50% males, 50% females) that had been uploaded on Instagram:
The degree of gender stereotyping in the selfies was measured using Goffman's (1979) and Kang's (1997) gender display categories (e.g. feminine touch, lying posture, withdrawing gaze, sparse clothing) plus three social media-related categories (kissing pout, muscle presentation, faceless portrayal). Additionally, gender stereotyping in selfies was directly compared to the degree of gender stereotyping in magazine adverts measured in the same way (Doring € & Poschl, 2006). Results reveal that male and female Instagram users' selfies not only reflect traditional gender stereotypes, but are even more stereotypical than magazine adverts.
Döring, Reif & Poeschl (2016:955)

Vivian Maier's (1926-2009) brilliant self-portraits:

"The meta quality (the photographer is almost always seen with her camera in the act of taking the shot) and obliqueness (she’s reflected in car mirrors, shop windows, or hubcaps, or seen only in shadow) that characterizes nearly all of these portraits might come across as over-determined, too earnestly artful, if not for Maier’s droll approach not only to composition, but to her own facial and bodily demeanor. Maier often affects a deadpan, somewhat distracted look, her eyes blankly regarding something just outside the photo’s frame. She is her own unwilling subject, just tolerating the intrusion of the camera she’s holding, arms akimbo, below her chest. And then there are the hats: berets, fedoras, straw, that lend her profile a rakish air, sometimes undermined by a slightly doleful expression. Maier presents herself as someone aloof and contentedly so. (...)
In a few images, Maier can be seen without her camera. In a 1960 shot, she broods purposely — chin in hand, beret appropriately tilted — in a snowy park. But in most of these self-portraits, the tool of her trade is unmistakably present, often vying with her face for prominence. The camera is carefully held — offered? — to the viewer as the object deserving our attention. The formality of her poses, her studied impassivity, lend an iconic note to several of these photos, as if she were seeking not to capture herself but to delineate some Platonic notion of “the photographer.” If the potential aesthetic missteps that attend this sort of self-mythologizing are numerous, Maier appears well aware of them and equally confident of her ability to avoid stumbling."
Albert Mobilio

- Döring, N., Reif, A. & Poeschl, S. (2016). How gender-stereotypical are selfies? A content analysis and comparison with magazine adverts. Computers in Human Behavior, 55, 955-962.
- Makhanova, A. McNulty, J. K., & Maner, J. K. (2017). Relative Physical Position as an Impression-Management Strategy: Sex Differences in Its Use and Implications, link
- Sedgewick, J. R., Flath, M. E. & Elias, L. J. (2017). Presenting Your Best Self(ie): The Influence of Gender on Vertical Orientation of Selfies on tinder. Frontiers in Psychology, 8, link
- self-portraits taken by Vivian Maier via and via and via and via and via 

Tuesday 1 October 2019

International Day of Older Persons

"The first of October, the International Day of Older Persons, is a day to stand against ageism and to promote the development of a society that is hospitable to people of all ages" (via). We surely have a long way to go.

"Older people have always played a significant role in society, as leaders, caretakers and custodians of tradition. Yet they are also highly vulnerable, with many falling into poverty, becoming disabled or facing discrimination." (via)

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photograph by Vivian Maier (Chicagoland, June 1978) via