“Born in Kandahar, Afghanistan, in 1984, photographer Farzana Wahidy was only a teenager when the Taliban took over the country in 1996. At age 13 she was beaten in the street for not wearing a burqa, she recalls, and she describes those years as a “very closed, very dark time.” To carry a camera would have been unthinkable.”
Asking For It: 6%
It is estimated that only 6% of rapes and sexual assaults are actually reported, which is a frightfully low number. I have started a new project aiming to explore the reasons behind this, which started from the #ididnotreport hashtag on twitter - where survivors or rape/sexual abuse tell of their numerous reasons why they didn’t report it to anyone. This is the first series of images - numerous things that victims are told time and time again whenever they do actually report their abuse to someone - be it a friend, parent, family member, stranger or the authorities. We live in a society of rape culture where the victim is almost constantly blamed - told that they drank too much, wore too little, were out too late by themselves, flirted too much, are too “slutty”, are too “frigid”, are making a big deal out of “nothing”, the rapist was their partner so it obviously wasn’t rape because you can’t be raped by someone you’re in a relationship with. The things that victims constantly get told by the media, the people they know, rape “jokes”, songs, the authorities…they are painted on them so that they can never forget. To remind them that it is all “their fault” - if they hadn’t gone there/drank alcohol/wore that skirt/flirted etc, it wouldn’t have happened. Obviously.
I intend to expand on this series of photographs in the near future, and there is a lot more to come from this project, this is only the very starting point. My aim is to bring the idea of rape culture, slut-shaming, and victim-blaming to the attention of more people. To try and examine why 94% of rapes/assaults/abuse are never reported to the police, and to try and make that number decrease.
I Love My Boo campaign features real young men of color loving each other passionately. Rather than sexualizing gay relationships, this campaign models caring, and highlights the importance of us taking care of each other. Featured throughout New York City, I Love My Boo directly challenges heterosexism and encourages all who come across it to critically rethink our notion of love.
GMHC is the world’s first and leading provider of HIV/AIDS prevention, care and advocacy. Building on decades of dedication and expertise, we understand the reality of HIV/AIDS and empower a healthy life for all. GMHC fights to end the AIDS epidemic and uplift the lives of all affected.
Born and raised in Lebanon, Rania Matar moved to the U.S. in 1984. Originally trained as an architect at the American University of Beirut and Cornell University, she worked as an architect before studying photography at New England School of Photography, and at the Maine Photographic Workshops in Mexico with Magnum photographer, Constantine Manos. She currently works full-time as a photographer and teaches documentary photography at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design. She also teaches photography in the summers to teenage girls in Lebanon’s refugee camps with the assistance of non-governmental organizations.
Matar’s work focuses mainly on women and women’s issues. Her previous work has focused on women and children in the Middle East, and her projects – which examine the Palestinian refugee camps, the recent spread of the veil and its meanings, the aftermath of war, and the Christians of the Middle East – intend to give a voice to people who have been forgotten or misunderstood. In Boston, where she lives, she photographs her four children at all stages of their lives, and is currently working on a new body of work, “A Girl and her Room,” photographing teenage girls from different backgrounds.
Phillip Toledano explores the definition of beauty through his photography. He has photographed people who have chosen to change their looks through cosmetic surgery.
WARNING: FEATURES NUDITY.
“I’m interested in what we define as beauty, when we choose to create it ourselves.
Beauty has always been a currency, and now that we finally have the technological means to mint our own, what choices do we make?
Is beauty informed by contemporary culture? By history? Or is it defined by the surgeon’s hand? Can we identify physical trends that vary from decade to decade, or is beauty timeless?
When we re-make ourselves, are we revealing our true character, or are we stripping away our very identity?
Perhaps we are creating a new kind of beauty. An amalgam of surgery, art, and popular culture? And if so, are the results the vanguard of human induced evolution?”