Liara's Campaign | Beauty in its True Form

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UNITED KINGDOM - In a dialogue between acid burn activist, Liara, and the photographer, Julian Holtom, an amazing and inspirational synergy occurred and resulted in a series of portraits which are breathtaking. Liara's story, her bravery, and her passion are self-evident, but best summed up in her own words.

"As an artist my aim is to portray beauty in its imperfect form that can evoke new meaning to the beholder’s eyes. My work is dedicated to the Burn survivor community around the world; not only to represent all other burn survivors but to encourage and inspire greater self-esteem. To prove scars are not something to be ashamed of but they can become one’s identity, they should never obscure a person’s perception of themselves nor hinder them from living life to the full.

It is possible to overcome the emotional turmoil that comes with scars and that is our aim. There are organisations in support of burn survivors; such as the Katie Piper foundation, Phoenix Burns Society , Burn Victim Survivors group on Facebook and Burn survivors through the world whom I represent for example.

I approached Julian with whom I was able to work on the concept of portraying the scars as part of character and personality, with the aim to achieve something genuine yet beautiful in its true form. To prove that scars do not change a person, they make that person who they become.

Julian, thank you so much. I have not only had a relaxing and fun shoot but for first time as a model have felt confident with my body" ~ Liara

"Liara's closing comment pretty much sums up my desire to shoot her. She approached me via a modelling site where she will have faced relentless prejudice from photographers only wanting to shoot pneumatic breasted orange sex dolls. We met and talked, instantly I wanted to help her through this medium. Boy does she light up the room with her inner spirit when she's smiling. Which with her giggling most of the afternoon was very often. Really enjoyed shooting her, and have some really great shots for the time we spent together. More to come..." ~ Julian Holtom

Copyright Julian Holtom Photography ©2012. All rights reserved.

 

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Carrie Mae Weems | Photographer

Carrie Mae Weems | Photographer

"This invisibility—this erasure out of the complex history of our life and time—is the greatest source of my longing. As you know, I’m a woman who yearns, who longs for. This is the key to me and to the work, and something which is rarely discussed in reviews or essays, which I also find remarkably disappointing. That there are so few images of African-American women circulating in popular culture or in fine art is disturbing; the pathology behind it is dangerous. I mean, we got a sistah in the White House, and yet mediated culture excludes us, denies us, erases us. But in the face of refusal, I insist on making work that includes us as part of the greater whole. Black experience is not really the main point; rather, complex, dimensional, human experience and social inclusion—even in the shit, muck, and mire—is the real point." -- Carrie Mae Weems

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Steve McCurry | Through His Eyes

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Ayanna Nahmias, Editor-in-ChiefLast Modified: 01:48 a.m. DST, 23 December 2013

McCurry took his most recognized portrait, "Afghan Girl", in a refugee camp near Peshawar, Pakistan. The image itself was named as "the most recognized photograph" in the history of the National Geographic magazine and her face became famous as the cover photograph on the June 1985 issue. . The identity of the "Afghan Girl" remained unknown for over 17 years until McCurry and a National Geographic team located the woman, Sharbat Gula, in 2002.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EC6b6X-Tf_E] McCurry continued to cover armed conflicts, including the Iran-Iraq War, Lebanon Civil War, the Cambodian Civil War, the Islamic insurgency in the Philippines, the Gulf War and the Afghan Civil War. His work has been featured worldwide in magazines and he is a frequent contributor to National Geographic. He has been a member of Magnum Photos since 1986.

McCurry focuses on the human consequences of war, not only showing what war impresses on the landscape, but rather, on the human face. “Most of my images are grounded in people. I look for the unguarded moment, the essential soul peeking out, experience etched on a person’s face. I try to convey what it is like to be that person, a person caught in a broader landscape, that you could call the human condition.” (Source: Wikipedia)

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Russian Roulette of Rape

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Ayanna Nahmias, Editor-in-ChiefLast Modified: 15:17 p.m. EDT, 19 July 2011

Rape Victim, Photo by Reinfried Marass (http://reinfriedmarass.com/blog/)

As a victim of rape I am intimately acquainted with the difficulties women face when confronted by the decision to report the violation. I was brutally date raped by boy who I knew and trusted. What has remained with me thirty years hence was the utter indifference exhibited by other attendees of the party who chose to ignore my cries for help.

When a woman is raped, if she chooses to report the violation, she risks a second violation by the criminal justice system. In almost all cases the defense employs offensive measures by thoroughly investigating her background until they unearth some lapse in judgment, preferably sexual.  She will face character assassination and if this doesn't dissuade her, the specter of a protracted public trial often encourages her to move forward with her life and to try and put it all behind.

I reported my case to a school counselor who tried to persuade me to contact the police but I refused out of fear of reprisal, stigmatization, ostracization.  The rapist had already besmirched my name by telling other schoolmates that I was a 'slut' and that I wanted it.  Since this occurred in my senior year I chose not to attend my graduation and never looked back.

In hindsight my decision not to report the incident to the police may not have been the correct choice, but it was probably best given my age and circumstances.  However, it dramatically affected my ability to trust men and resulted in severe dysfunction which subsequently damaged many of my future relationships.

When an older woman reports rape she is at greatest risk of being victimized by the system.  Most women have history, especially woman who are past the age of consent which is 18 in America. Many women in this age bracket  have had multiple sexual encounters that include marriage or long-term partnerships.  Unlike the accused, her background is dissected with a fine tooth comb, while the perpetrator need only proclaim that he is innocent and the sexual encounter was consensual.

Thus, the chances of a rapist remaining free is fairly high and the risk of him getting caught is akin to playing Russian roulette.  The chances of him getting punished decreases with each subsequent rape, but if he is prone to this type of antisocial behavior, he is willing to take that risk because he understand the psychology of his chosen victims who will most likely remain silent.

This post began in response to the Dominique Strauss-Kahn rape case which has faded quietly from the public's eye amid allegations that the woman was in fact a prostitute who had attempted on previous occasions to file false rape charges.  Only Strauss-Kahn and the maid will ever know the truth. However, even if the allegations advanced by Strauss-Kahn's defense team are true, it does not negate the possibility that this time she told the truth.

It doesn't matter if you are a prostitute, stripper or a wife, non-consensual sex is rape and "No!" means "NO!"

Photos by Reinfried Marass. All Rights Reserved. Contact photographer for permission for reprint.

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Wounded Woman Project | Autobiography of Rape

Reinfried Marass is an Austrian, professional photographer, born 1960 in Vienna. He started photography at age of 18 after his graduation as mechanical engineer. His work is internationally acknowledged and awarded at some of the world’s most prestigious photographic contests. Reinfried's photographs have been published in numerous international magazines and books - primarily covers, full pages, double-spreads or centerfolds.

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Faces of Brazil | Gabriel Wickbold

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Ayanna Nahmias, Editor-in-ChiefLast Modified: 22:50 PM EDT, 27 December 2009

SAO PAULO, Brazil - Gabriel Wickbold is a young Brazilian Photographer whose images are intriguing and captivating. This post features his 'Faces of Brasileiros' series.

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Gabriel Wickbold | Brazilian Photographer

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Ayanna Nahmias, Editor-in-ChiefUpdated: 12:36 PM EDT, 22 November 2012

Gabriel Wickbold PhotosSAO PAULO, Brazil - By now readers are familiar with tone and focus of this blog, and how art, music and photography are used to augment the posts.

As a writer and painter, it is my belief that we are charged not only with translating the ethereal, insubstantial, and unconscious into a form that individuals who are not similarly wired can receive; but we must also help them to re-engage with that energy source from which all creativity flows.

The ability to render through imagery and language, products that evoke visceral reactions that inspire viewers to engage, if only momentarily, with the unconscious world from which all reality flows, is the primary responsibility of our griots and shaman. An an example of this, is Surrealism, which holds an attraction for most individuals, even those who are not art connoisseurs.

Gabriel Wickbold is a young Brazilian Photographer whose images are intriguing and captivating. There are many links to photographers and other artists on this blog, and when possible their works are featured with a direct link to their websites.

It is the responsibility of all artists and writers to promote the work of other talented individuals. Please feel free to submit up and coming artists and their work. Of particular interests are the works of Africans on the Continent and in the Diaspora, South Americans, Europeans and other cultures. If the proposed artist's work is deemed appropriate, it will be featured on this blog.

If you are an artist or photographer who would like to submit your work, please provide at least three photos and a link to your website for consideration.

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