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Wednesday 5: Women of Vision

In this week’s Wednesday 5 we highlight women of vision—those who use the camera to tell compelling stories about our world and its complexities. Those women include: 31 women who, via self-portraits, challenge the notion that women in their 50s and 60s are of the ‘invisible age’; 11 photojournalists of National Geographic who have been on and off the front lines; Katie Orlinsky, who documents the small acts of rebellion by women in Mali who were formerly under Shariah law; Shannon Jensen, who photographs the tattered and worn shoes of civilians fleeing violence; and the incredible images of Vivian Maier.




The Invisible Age: Photographic Self-Portraits by Women Aged 50-65

Invisible Age

What is the invisible age? According to curators Jan Potts and Beth Keintzle of “The Invisible Age: Photographic Self-Portraits by Women Aged 50-65,” when our society continues to equate beauty with youth and wisdom with age, women who are in between those phases of life are rendered invisible. The photography project, which can viewed online at Lens Culture, features 31 women photographers who express what it means to for them to be at that “invisible age” via self-portraits.



Women of Vision: ‘National Geographic’ Photographers on Assignment

National Geographic Senior Photo Editor Elizabeth Krist has curated a fabulous project—Women of Vision, featuring the brilliant work of the magazine’s women photojournalists who have been on both on and off the front lines documenting our stories. The exhibition’s project statement reveals:

Some of the most powerful narratives of the past decade have been produced by a forward-thinking generation of women photojournalists as different as the places and the subjects they have covered. . . . Women of Vision is a tribute to the spirit and the ambition of these journalists and artists who have created riveting experiences for millions through the insightful, sensitive, and strategic use of a camera.

Featuring the work of 11 women, the collection is touring the country. See the venues here.  Watch Ann Curry’s interview with the photographers here.




Women Beyond the Veil in Mali

Katie OrlinskyThe New York Times, LENS

This week, The New York Times featured the stunning and thoughtful work of photographer Katie Orlinsky in its LENS section. Whitney Richardson of The Times painted the scene for Orlinsky’s collection, “Women Beyond the Veil in Mali“:

In early 2013, Islamist and Tuareg rebel forces imposed strict Shariah law across northern Mali for nine months. . . [W]omen were forced to remain indoors and wear full body and face-covering veils. Infractions of the law often meant severe punishment, ranging from being jailed in cramped holding cells and being whipped. According to Human Rights Watch, reports of forced marriage and rape also rose.

In response, Orlinsky spent time with women mostly at “home, mosques, clubs and family events”—documenting their inner lives as much as their public ones. What her photos reveal are Malian women who show “strength and resilience” and “small acts of rebellion.”



‘A Long Walk,’ by Shannon Jensen

They are simply photographs of shoes and sandals—worn, tattered, and dusty. But it is the journeys of the men, women, and children who have worn those shoes that tell the real story. In 2011, new and energized fighting in South Sudan forced 200,000 people from their homes into refugee camps. And in that long journey to safety to South Sudan’s northern border, photographer Shannon Jensen looked for a way to tell their stories via a perspective that was not stereotypical or commonplace. On focusing on the shoes for “A Long Walk,” she shares:

I noticed the shoes. The refugees were wearing an incredible array of worn-down, misshapen, patched-together shoes. Each pair provided a silent testimony to the arduous journey. Each detail revealed the persistence and ingenuity of their owners and the diversity of the hundreds of thousands of men, women, and children brought together by tragic circumstance.

 Jensen is part of the Open Society Institute’s Moving Walls exhibit.




 Vivian Maier

You’ve probably heard the name Vivian Maier already—the mysterious and eclectic nanny who, during the years of her unassuming work, was photographing the life she saw on the streets of Chicago. We share with you Episode 179 of The Art of Photography.

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  • cheryl fleming August 20, 2014 at 10:34 am

    Thank you for sharing these amazing female photographers. I have seen the work of Vivian Maier in book and in a film documentary- what a gem of a find. Looking forward to viewing the other photographers. – Cheryl Fleming Photography