8th of March 2022= 8 Women photographers

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8F March 8, 2022 = 8 women photographers and artists

INTRO That’s the feeling I get when I listen to one of my favorite songs. When the music, from the first notes, enters the body and releases the adrenaline which begins to flow to the rhythm of the sound. The feeling is fluid like water that is sometimes cold, then hot, then icy, then steamy, then friend of life, then rebellious enemy. When I see certain photographs, I have the same feeling. When a photograph strikes me, for the most diverse reasons, “wow”, my shoulders contract and at the same time my arms go limp. This image belongs to me, it is part of my iconographic imagination, of my experience, it answers my questions, it asks me new ones. All the aesthetic canons studied or subtly inculcated remain on the surface because the choice of a photograph is intimate. All this, but more, explains the choice of the 8 women photographers and artists that I share with you. Look for them, take a long look at their photos, deepen their poetics. This exploration will not leave you indifferent. I chose 8 contemporary photographers and artists, at large.

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I abandon pure photography and mix photos, objects and books to tell about these great and talented women photographers and artists. My black and white photos talk about water, the one we don’t notice, the one that flows silently under our lives: bridges that cross it, small locks, partitions and underground corridors that control it, architectures that embrace it. Water is friend and enemy, it is fundamental, it is at the center of the ecological debate, but for us it is obvious to cross it, to buy it, to waste it. Once in a while we think about her in a lasting way, but then we forget about her. Let’s think about water.

The books, not always easy to find, are those of 8 women photographers. The book is the maximum expression of photography, of the image project, and it plays with the volatility of websites and social networks. The book stays there and is always ready to be leafed through for inspiration. I really like these little photographic books with cheap editions but well printed with care. You put them in your bag and read them on the bus, on the beach… and the photographs become something to read, look at, contemplate an infinite number of times, unlike the infamous 8 seconds of active attention on a Instagram-story.

These last days, with the precipitation of events in Ukraine, I thought of dedicating the second part of this booklet to 2 photographers, a Ukrainian and a Russian, and to a Russian embroiderer. Then, in order not to endanger anyone in this dramatic moment, I chose not to present the Russian photographer despite her interesting projects. I will present her later. By chance, a few days ago, I discovered and found interesting a young and famous Russian embroiderer and entrepreneur who works in Haute Couture between Paris and Ukraine. Their Instagram profiles immediately give us a glimpse of their work, their humanity and their action. Nowadays, everyone, in their own way, reacts and acts.


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1 Sabine Weiss (1924, Saint-Gingolph - Switzerland – 2021, Paris - France) She left us last December. I looked for Paul Boissonnas’s Atelier in Geneva where she began her training in photography before settling in Paris. If the figure of the photographer Boissonnas is still alive in Geneva, this Atelier no longer exists today in the small gallery “Passage des Lions” where, under the elegant long Art Nouveau arch in glass and metal, there are however shops and bars, life going on, dynamic as then. With her delicate photos she tells the beautiful side of life, even when her lens opens on children playing in the streets with torn clothes or on a man sleeping on a bench next to his bottle in the photo titled “ Rest”. I find the lightness and softness of her gaze reassuring and soothing. Her style resembles that of other Humanist photographers of the time, such as his friends Robert Doisneau and Willy Ronis, all imbued with the typical post-war optimism.

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2 Vivian Maier (1926, New York – 2009, Chicago - USA) Vivian Maier is more contemporary than ever since John Maloof discovered her extensive photographic archives in 2007. Lots of questions about this mysterious and fascinating photographer who, I think, has said all she has to say about society and its world, through his shots imbued with a disarming awareness, obsessively geometric, elegantly contextualized in his time. Her portraits are sometimes gentle, sometimes ruthless. She doesn’t hold back, she documents calmly without worrying about success, but her frustration is palpable and her self-portraits are brilliant.

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3 Jeong Mee Yoon (1969, Séoul - South Korea) The colors become gender stereotypes and a golden cage. With her very sharp “The Pink and Blue Project” she has been representing children in their bedrooms for many years, “prisoners” of their pink and blue games and dresses. The question that haunts me in front of these serial photographs and so true in all consumerist latitudes is: who put these children in prison? Great source of reflection.

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8F 4 Zanele Muholi (1972, Umlazi - South Africa) Her images are powerful. The black of her photos is so deep that it covers the uncertainties and the white makes its way timidly. The proud gazes of these portraits both attract and repel, while the beauty of the forms is immediate, especially in the brilliant self-portraits where unusual objects get stuck in the hair and skin, as if to build a human-robot who seems ready to fight for the visibility and affirmation of lesbian identity in her country. She is a South African photographer and artist-activist committed to the LGBTQI cause.

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8F 5 Martha Rosler (1943, Brooklyn-New York - USA) I wonder why her photomontages continue to be so current, where scenes of war and images of quiet daily life coexist in the same rectangle. Her first project dates back to 1967, there was Vietnam and the United States. Today in these collages we could put Afghanistan, Syria, an African state, we are spoiled for choice... not to mention Ukraine. The indifference of the better off is collapsing today thanks to the globalized network and there is more participation, but I would like these collages to become works of art far from the present.

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8F 6 Sally Gall (1956, New York City) “I photograph with an ever deepening appreciation for how this place shapes us, even as we shape it with our passage,” she writes. They are first portraits, black and white, nature, then color and abstraction. The attention of the gaze moves upwards, on a plane parallel to the ground, and here the charm is accomplished, the air is drawn in the colored fabrics and new celestial creatures come to life. An original project, as simple as it is brilliant, where carefree play becomes art and communication and design that inspires and tells fantastic stories.

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7 Alina Smutko (1992, Ukraine) She is a Ukrainian documentary photographer who knows well the political and social dynamics of her country. Her photo-reports on Crimea, on post-Soviet territories, but also on the issue of maternity and palliative care denied to the disabled, shine a spotlight on forgotten situations, as only the courage and the perseverance of professionals of great humanity can do. These days, she documents the wounds of her land. The photos are clear, they tell the evolution of events, without pietism, with a frontal perspective and an objective eye.

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8F 8 Anastasia V. Vist (Russia) Her delicate and ambitious artistic embroideries, proudly displayed until a few days ago, gave way to the struggle in the field, where the precious threads were replaced by Molotov cocktails. Tutorials on how to attach beads to fabric are replaced with tutorials on making camouflage netting. An artist who becomes a warrior, who does not let herself be surprised by an unexpected hell, but who asks for help to stop the madness, showing her passport as a Russian woman citizen of the world. We just have to follow and appreciate that courage.

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1 - Sabine Weiss • www. sabineweissphotographe.com • I recommend one of her latest interviews: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8sN1Z8Ijk0Y • “La Casa dei Tre Oci” in Venice presents the exhibition “Sabine Weiss. The poetry of the moment” from March 11 to October 23, 2022 2 - Vivian Maier • www.vivianmaier.com • A must see! After Paris the exhibition is now in Turin until June 2022: “Vivian Maier Inédite” – Musei Reali Torino 3 - Jeong Mee Yoon • www.jeongmeeyoon.com 4 - Zanele Muholi • www.awarewomenartists.com/artiste/zanele-muholi/ 5 - Martha Rosler • www.martharosler.net 6 - Sally Gall • www.sallygall.com • Instagram @sally.gall 7 - Alina Smutko • www.alinasmutkoph.com • Instagram @alina_smutko 8 - Anastasia V. Vist • www.ave.school • Instagram @anastasia.vist.embroidery

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I am an Italian visual designer and photographer, based in Geneva since 2018. I work with images, children and the history of photography. “Cartacce” (Ugly Paper) is my first photography book.

Ramona Vada

Ramona Vada: texts, collages and photographs.


8 women photographers and artists places

8F 2022

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