The Producer’s picks for this week’s news relevant to the photography, art, design and production industries:
1) Marking one year of #MeToo coverage
One year ago, on the afternoon of October 5, 2017, The New York Times published an exposé on Harvey Weinstein that shook the entertainment world. Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey detailed Weinstein’s predatory behavior and the lengths to which he went to cover it up. Soon after, Ronan Farrow wrote a story, published by The New Yorker, that included more on-the-record allegations against Weinstein. The reports were shocking, though few could have predicted that they would not only take down one of the most prominent producers in Hollywood, but also catalyze a movement that has reshaped American culture.
“None of us knew what was about to happen,” Kantor told CNN’s Brian Stelter. “Not the team at the Times. Not Ashley Judd or Laura Madden, the first two women to go on the record.” What was about to happen, of course, was that more women would come forward, not just with allegations against Weinstein, but with stories of trauma, abuse, and harassment in workplaces across the country, giving rise to a national reckoning. Powerful men in nearly every field were exposed. News outlets dedicated resources to investigating claims that might, in an earlier era, have been ignored.
2) In Cape Town, Journalists count the cost of "Day Zero" Water Narrative
Inside February’s edition of Isolabantu News, a free monthly newspaper in Cape Town, an insert paid for by municipal officials screamed, “We CAN beat Day Zero”—a reference to the impending threat of water outage in the city. A story on the opposite page, “It’s already Day Zero in Siyahlala,” took a very different tone, explaining in English as well as the local isiXhosa language that little would change for Cape Town’s poorest residents should the city turn off the taps.
Many other stories about the crisis, in South Africa and overseas, featured images of middle-class Capetonians lining up by Table Mountain to bottle water from natural springs, a collective bid to spare the municipal supply. In many of the poorer townships and informal settlements that sprawl toward the ocean, however, waiting at a communal water source has been a fact of life for many years. “People [there] were not scared at all” of Day Zero, Isolabantu News Managing Editor Peter Luhanga says. “In the Eastern Cape, people walk a long distance just to get to a nearby freshwater source. Here, it’s heaven, because there’s a freshwater tap, which they share.”
3) KitSplit Launches Free Mentorship Program to get more Women into Film
Women represent only 8 percent of writers, 10 percent of directors, 2 percent of cinematographers, 24 percent of producers, and 14 percent of editors, according to Women and Hollywood. Peer-to-peer camera gear rental platform KitSplit is looking to change that by announcing a partnership with current KitSplit members who volunteer their time to mentor women in film.
KitSplit has had its sight set on helping women in film for some time, but this marks the first time the company has been able to directly help women through mentorship. While 75 percent of "executives say mentoring has been critical to their career development" (according to Forbes), the opportunity for women in the filmmaking industry is less than adequate, as the numbers of women in the industry look bleak.
4) Shirin Aliabadi, known for depicting rebellious Iranian women, has died
Shirin Aliabadi, a multidisciplinary artist known for her images of young Iranian women, died in her native Tehran on Monday (1 October), her gallery in Dubai announced.
The gallery did not give a cause of death or her precise age; Aliabadi was born in 1973. She was best known for her Girls in Cars (2005) and Miss Hybrid (2008) series of photographs, which highlighted the dual existence of young women and the ways in which they adapt their private lives to the public sphere.
In the documentary photographs comprising Girls in Cars, Iranian girls and women—dolled up and adhering to the mandatory Islamic dress code as minimally as possible—are captured while riding in cars in nights out on the town or possibly headed to house parties. In Miss Hybrid, the artist elaborated on the private-public dichotomy through photographs presenting the modern Iranian woman, complete with peroxide blonde hair, a bandage indicating a nose job (a sign of wealth and status) and, in some cases, a fake tan and lapdog. As with the subjects of Girls in Cars, the urge of Aliabadi’s Westernised women to engage in what she called “passive rebellion” against state-imposed morality is palpable.
5) ARS is a new online platform for honest, anonymous photo critiques
A new platform called ARS offers photographers a way to get honest feedback on their images. Unlike social media, where commenters may be biased by a desire to be nice or get followers, ARS offers no such pressure or incentives. Instead, the photographers sharing images and the people critiquing them are completely anonymous.
ARS was created by Eric Kim, who explained on his website, "Whenever you upload a photograph to Facebook, Instagram, Flickr, etc – most people (to not hurt your feelings) will just say something generic like, ‘Nice shot! [...] If someone saw my picture (and didn’t know who I was), would they still like the picture?"
6) Refugees and migrants tell their own stories through photographs
The 25th annual exhibition by the Open Society Documentary Photography Project elevates the voices of refugees, migrants and asylum seekers.
In recent years, photographers from all over have flocked to countries affected by the refugee crisis, following the travails of migrants seeking refuge in Turkey, Greece and Lebanon. Others went to the source of the exodus, highlighting tragedies in Myanmar, Afghanistan and South Sudan.
In “Another Way Home,” the 25th annual “Moving Walls” exhibition series by the Open Society Documentary Photography Project, migration takes center stage not only because of our times, but because it has been a constant theme throughout the series’ history.
This one stands out for what it lacks: images of suffering.
After receiving more than 400 applications, a panel selected eight multimedia projects by 13 photographers and artists. In addition to showing their work for several months, each participant has also received a fellowship to further develop their work on migration.