Monthly Archives: January 2007

Women of Japan Hurray !

Laurie says:

I finished the final master prints of Women of Japan Saturday night. This means that the project is basically finished. I haven’t had time to to take it in yet, but as it starts to sink in, it feels fabulous. In the last 6 months I’ve been feeling very driven to finish.

Women of Japan started 8 years ago on a speaking trip to Japan. It was going to be a bicultural article with perhaps 8 photographs. It evolved into a 39 photo project with complex bilingual text over about 6 trips to Japan in the intervening years. It led to serious friendships, trips to Okinawa and Hokkaido, and of course lots of time on Honshu. I’ve developed a wonderful web of community relationships with folks I’ve been working with there. There’ve been exhibitions and lots of panels shared with the models, and intense conversations with the audiences. And certainly this intimate involvement with Japan has changed me. I’m not completely sure how, but now that the project is artistically complete I’ll have some time to seriously think about it.

The photo below is of Suzuki Ryoko-san, an artist in Hokkaido who I stayed with on my last trip. Her work is impressive but unfortunately there are no good English language links for it.

Suzuki Ryoko

I spent Xmas in 2004 with her family in Hokkaido. I still have my “silly present” – a yellow rubber duck.

She was extraordinarily helpful. During a hard trip in the mountain area around Asahikawa, I was tramping through the snow, up hill, in the cold, with a huge photography bag on shoulder, on my way to shoot in an traditional Ainu house. She turned to me with a grin and said “Didn’t know you were a documentary photographer, did you?” I will post the portraits I shot there up after the models have seen them.

Her Women of Japan text says:

I heard that it is a very ‘violent’ thing to have one’s photograph taken. When I myself am working as an artist, I can pay too much attention to the figure of the object that I am copying.

Sure enough, I was “robbed of all I have” and was “placed as an object.”

What did I feel? I would like you to read it from my expression.

If you feel something beyond the gaze, you might have already been caught by Laurie’s charming scheme.

Laurie and I, as accomplices, have succeeded in discovering “a violence that has been completed together.”

(This was the hardest text to translate into English because of its complexity.)

I was really happy when she said that she thought the photograph had indeed portrayed her “real” self.

As soon as more women in Japan see the copies of their photos, I’ll be putting them up on the blog. (As you know I never put up photos until the people in the pictures have seen them.)

Just writing this has made the sense of finishing more real. I feel very good tonight.

women, Japan, Women of Japan, photography, feminism, art, Body Impolitic

Trips and Links

Laurie Says:

Deb is on an electronic free vacation in the Florida Keys having a wonderful time.

I’m frantically getting ready for my Seattle, New York City and Boston trips in February, so life is pretty dense. That’s why it’s been a little quiet here.

I’ll be blogging by myself this week till Deb gets back this weekend. Then we’ll trade places as solo bloggers while I travel.

The Feminist Carnival is out at Honestly I haven’t had a chance to do more then glance at it yet – check it out.

I did read It is time for a feminism of the monstrous by little light at taking and it really knocked me out – read the whole blog.

“What I say may be in a language incomprehensible, but there is a time for that, and it is right now, because this is a monster’s creed. It is for the cobbled-together, the sewn-up, the grafted-on. It is for the golden, the under-the-earth, the foreign, the travels-by-night; the filthy ship-sinking cave-dwelling bone-cracking gorgeousness that says hell no, I am not tidy. I am not easy. I am not what you suppose me to be and until you listen to my voice and look me in my eyes, I will cling fast to this life no matter how far you drive me, how deep, with how many torches and pitchforks, biting back the whole way down. I will not give you my suicide. I will not give you my surrender.”

I’ve been doing a lot of printing and if I can figure out how to post them on the blog (usually Deb’s job) I’ll have some new photos up in this week.

Lynne Murray sent me these links and commments about some blogs she really liked on Fat Chicks Rule. Lynne says “No!” to name calling–“Yes! to full information.”

Lynne Murray says:

Lara Frater comes up with some very interesting materials in her Fat Chicks Rule Blog.

Thanks, Lara! I found her recent gems all fascinating, but two items caught my attention. One was her link to information on No Name-Calling Week. A project that seeks to focus national attention on the problem of name-calling in schools, and to provide students and educators with the tools and inspiration to launch an on-going dialogue about ways to eliminate name-calling in their communities. .

Lara provides another very interesting link to Sandy Szwarc’s incisive
examination of the real health and financial costs of weight loss surgery.

I’ve been horrified recently to see television ads for the lap band version of weight loss surgery that make it sound like a minor cosmetic procedure. I second Lara’s warning about the graphic surgery picture at this link! I scrolled down past that in a hurry! But the article was comprehensive, and necessary, particularly in considering how difficult it is for those contemplating these surgeries to get real information.

Szwarc points out that “[C]omplications are often not factored in the risk-benefit considerations or are significantly downplayed in most research. Hence, the information does not reach consumers in a real way or get entered into public debates.

After trying unsuccessfully for years to get countless articles published describing the lives of surgery survivors and the complications, risks and precautions; especially the special risks for women of childbearing age and growing children; it became apparent to me that mainstream media’s interests are not neutral.. These complications are too extensive to discuss here but objective reports show them to be much more extensive and prevalent, and to increase over time, than many prospective patients believe. Patients facing overwhelming complications can sometimes only rely on each other for help. Complication rates are also much higher than the immediate post-op problems reported in most bariatric studies because most occur after patients leave the hospital and are rarely connected with the surgeries.” [Italics in original]

feminist carnival, trans, transexual, gender, feminism, gender queer, weight loss surgery, fat, body image, size acceptance, Body Impolitic