Where are the Mistresses of Photography?

So, I’m perusing my latest issue of Digital PhotoPro, which inexplicably arrives in my mailbox monthly, though I do not subscribe.  While I did enjoy the past few months issues, which had some relevant articles that pertained to some public art projects I am thinking about, I have to say the current issue, a “Masters” special fills me with the same dread as those awful Canon ads featuring 10 white men and then a token female.  Now, I’m no bra-burner per se, but you may call me a feminist if you want – if your definition of the term means someone who believes in equal rights for women, though I do miss chivalrous attitudes – I have never minded anyone holding the door open for me, and given the state of the oceans today, fish may very well need a bicycles.  (that’s a joke people).

Technology has the world a-changing faster than ever before, but yet the world doesn’t really change in some respects.  Out of eight Masters of photography, the only master that is a mistress is a recent Brooks graduate pursuing new media.  Really?  I know, I know, it’s hard to get past the same-old, same-old Mary Ellen Marks, and oft-cited Annie Leibovitzs.   But they are out there people, they really are.  I’m not asking for some quid pro quo, no affirmative action.  I’m just asking you to get out of your broken-record headspace and realize that there are plenty of working Mistresses out there who are also Masters.  And that goes for you too Canon, and your horrific ads.

It’s great we have programs like, Women in Photography, Women Photojournalists of Washington, etc etc, but like actresses who call themselves actors, I think we all just want to be recognized as photographers, without the gender modifier. Does it not reinforce my argument that the males in our profession have felt no need to unite and have a Men in Photography group?  I live for the day when such a need will arise, and they can all take their drums and go beat them in the woods somewhere together along with their 500 mm lenses.  (another joke people).

Who are these Masters? Well deserving, I’m sure:

1. Master of the Timeless Portrait: Dan Winters

2. Master of Architectural Fashion: Richard Reinsdorf

3. Master of Making Everyone Look Good: David La Chapelle

4. Master of Outdoor Lifestyle: Michael DeYoung

5. Master of the New Media: Chase Charvis

6. Master of the New Visual Journalism: Brenda Manookin

Please feel free to leave your choices for a different Master/Mistress below.  We know they’re out there, right?

Just went to the Canon Explorers of Light website and out of 62 photographers, about 5 appear to be females (some names are ambiguous).  Really? Really? Couldn’t find any info on Nikon, but would be interested to learn.  It’s the 21st century people.

Key Words from Frank Ockenfels 3 on A Photo Editor

This is a worthwhile interview –  :

The whole first five years in my career was wandering around on my bike with a Norman 200b and a Hasselblad. I would just show up to photo shoots and go, “Here I am. I’m taking your picture now.”

You just shoot things, because people ask you to shoot things, right? But every time I did a picture for them, what they were asking, I would make a conscious point of making an image that was 180 degrees in the opposite direction.

There was a couple of years where it was questionable if I was going to survive because I wasn’t just doing things to get by. I was saying, “No, I really don’t want to do that. And this is the pictures I want to take now, and this is where I want to go.”

Galegos na Diaspora lecture by photographer Delmi Alvarez at Library of Congress Hispanic Reading Room

FYI This lecture will be conducted in Spanish – On Tuesday November 17 at  12-1 pm in the  Hispanic Division of Library of Congress Spanish photographer (I should say Galician – the Spaniards invented Balkanization!) will be presenting his twenty-year project, Galegos na Diaspora. From Delmi:

Galegos na Diaspora is a photo essay documentary long term begun in 1989 and ended in 2009. It is a book published in Galicia with 600 pages.
Is the first time that the project has a presentation. In my country no media, press, Tv or organizations have interest in it because it is very controversial.
Finally I will talk about this long project out of my land and I am sad of that, but proud that in the USA it can be true and talk to the people about this galician diaspora around the world.
Galician diaspora is on memory of thousands of inmigrants that one day went out of Galicia and established their lifes in many countries of the world.
The project is based in travels around, Europe, Americas, Asia & Oceania, Africa…

Many stories of people who can not be heard and have been forgotten in the memory of time.

A ver:

Foto 10 bastos

Foto 14 emilio


Popular Photography: China, New Work


O.M.G.  Boasting one of the more amazing magazine covers I have seen in a while, Chinese photography magazine Popular Photography, published a portfolio of images and Q&A from my Super-America show at Kunst.Licht Gallery in Shanghai.  Say what you will of the cover, I think their treatment of my photography, along with the red and blue airbrushing treatment, is nothing short of inspired.


Opening spread © Susana Raab



The top two are from the Dells in Wisconsin, middle two are DC and gas station is outside of Memphis.

That my friends, is some sweet clippage.

FotoWeek: Critical Exposure Auction Tickets Still Available!

Trinidad, Cuba © Susana Raab 2009

Need some new art, and let’s face it, who doesn’t? Check out the very worthy auction:
FotoWeek DC and Critical Exposure invite you to

“Picture Equality: An Evening of Empowerment Through Photography”

Reception & Silent Auction of Photographs

Thursday, November 12th, 6:30-9:30 pm
FotoWeek Central 1 at 3338 M St. NW in Georgetown

Tickets are $75 and include wine, beer, and appetizers. Click here to purchase!

FotoWeek DC has partnered with Critical Exposure to run “Cameras for Kids,” a program that teaches documentary photography and social advocacy to DC public school students.  Currently there is a program for students at Martin Luther King Elementary School.

The evening will consist of a reception with wine, beer, and appetizers, as well as a silent auction of images donated by over thirty professional photographers, including:
Damon Winter, a staff photographer for The New York Times, who took over 90,000 photos of Obama during the 2008 Presidential Campaign, one of which is in our auction.  He later won the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography for a selection of this work.
Ami Vitale is a contract photographer with National Geographic and is best known for cultural documentation.  Her stories have been awarded numerous grants, including The Canon Female Photojournalist Award for her work in Kashmir, and the Alexia Foundation for World Peace.
Patrick Farrell, a staff photographer for The Miami Herald, won the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News Photography for his coverage of the 2008 Hurricane Season that ravaged Haiti.
Ed Kashi is an award-winning photojournalist, filmmaker and education dedicated to documenting the social and political issues that define our times.

Paul Nicklen, who grew up in a small Inuit community in Canada’s Arctic and has spent his photography career documenting the Arctic and its inhabitants.

Todd Heisler, whose images focus on American life and who won the 2006 Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography at the Rocky Mountain News for a project entitled “The Final Salute.”  Now a staff photographer for the New York Times, he works on a weekly project, “1 in 8 million,” that highlights the lives of New Yorkers.
Don’t miss this unique opportunity to own a beautiful photograph and support arts programming for at-risk DC youth. A limited number of tickets are available. Reserve your spot at the auction!

Critical Exposure is a Washington, DC-based nonprofit that teaches youth to use the power of photography and their own voices to become effective advocates for school reform and social change. By empowering young people to develop skills in documentary photography and advocacy, and to exhibit their images and stories in galleries, coffee shops, and other public spaces, we expose citizens and policymakers to the realities and challenges faced by DC youth. Learn more at http://www.criticalexposure.org/auction.
Unpromo-ed, but very much in the auction is an uncharacteristic offering from me: a black and white of a church in the Cuban town of Trinidad, at dusk.  V. affordable and worthy of your tax-deductible contribution!

A Pleasant Sunday Afternoon Stroll


A place of Tranquility, The Washington National Cathedral. © Raab 2009

I hate to mention the weather, but it has been nothing less than a phenomenal autumn with trees afire and brisk temperatures here in our nation’s capital.  I like to take abby and ted on a powerwalk to to the Washington Cathedral some mornings and all portended glorious-ity.  I don’t ALWAYS walk around with a camera but I needed to make some stock shots of the cathedral so I grabbed the 35mmDSLR.  Rounding around the side of the cathedral we saw some activity at the end of the driveway.  And who knew, YOU can protest outside the cathedral w/o permit just like the guy who is always protesting around the Vatican DCHQ over on Mass Ave.

I must confess to a bit world-weariness on the DC protest scene.  I’m happy for everyone to have their first amendment bits and all. But sometimes it is too much.  That is an understatement of the scene I witnessed yesterday AM around 10 on Wisconsin Ave in front of the Cathedral.  It was superlative on a few levels, and might I remind people that superlative does not only connote the postive.  Also, I assure you, it’s been a fair piece since I’ve been called a: “silly slut,” by one of my photographic subjects.  Apparently the Phelps-Roper Famille of Topeka, KS has earned a bit of press but remained unknown to me before our face-to-face encounter.  Two sisters and their children who were quite young stood of the sidewalk wearing offensive ignorant statements spewing hate.


Family spewing Hate before Sunday morning services at The National Cathedral © Susana Raab 2009


Getting the attention they deserve. © Susana Raab 2009

The saddest part was how young the kids were and how brainwashed and unable they were to have a conversation outside of reciting a script. When I asked how they liked Washington, I was given some speechifying and then when I tried to redirect the conversation by inquiring  about impressions of the city itself  as a landscape, for the architecture?  Well, I was subjected to some personal insults from the “aunt” of the young children basically insinuating that I do not spend enough time pondering deep and serious issues, and that, my friends, is putting it kindly. These people have no appreciation of loveliness so trapped are they by their fixations of hate and anger.

It was a bit of a spectacle with me (shooting), abby and teddy (impatiently observing with growing incredulity); another guy walking his terrier, Betsy, with whom Abby wanted to go agro; and this young high school student, Erik Klein, who had been observing these people’s activities for two years and whose HS (Bethesday Chevy Chase) will apparently be picketed by these seriously misguided people. Young Erik, full of righteous indignation, was soon filming and shouting expletives to and fro with the ladies.  I conferred with  Betsy’s dad from a safe distance regarding that quirky aspect of Washington whereupon one never knows just what sort of something one will run into out for a brisk stroll with the lil chappies.


They felt they had seen enough, didn't like the energy there, wanted legal emancipation to the fence I had tied them up to; wondered what happened to the concept of frolicking down the Olmsted Path? © Susana Raab 2009

Security officers were watching us from a safe distance and soon a couple of police cruisers had parked in the driveway.  We talked with Erik about the importance of not degenerating the conversation into a loud cussing match versus abstaining from dialogue if it could not be kept civil and also I met one wonderful man, Uwhankebe Anana, originally of Nigeria.


Uwhankebe © Susana Raab 2009

Uwhankebe, lately in the security industry, has been unemployed for several months and is distributing The Examiner in front of the Cathedral on Sundays and in the U-Street area during the week.  He was a very pleasant person and I’m sure will be a conscientious employee.


Eric and Uwhankebe © Susana Raab 2009

Hate-Fighter Eric Klein, Senior, Bethesda Chevy Chase High School on the left.


Sad is What I am When I see this Little Boy © Susana Raab 2009

So this young man apparently had enough of holding up the sign and after some negotiation with his mother was allowed to distract himself with something behind her.  I looked over and he appeared to be playing video games on an I-Touch, surely a symbol of hell and tarnation, if ever there were, do you not think?  So I sought to verify: “Hey is that an I-Touch you are using?”  Well, for the last time that morning I was treated with scorn and disgust, as I left soon after the scornful lad responded:

“No. It’s an I-Phone.”

Well, I can at least take comfort in the fact that they have to use AT&T.

National Museum of the American Indian Invites Applications for Indigenous Contemporary Arts Program

The National Museum of the American Indian‘s Indigenous Contemporary Arts Program offers support to a wide range of arts activities with the goal of increasing the knowledge, understanding, and appreciation of contemporary Native American arts. The NMAI considers the recognition of living artists of the Western Hemisphere and Hawaii to be of primary importance and will give awards to projects that strengthen the scholarship in this underserved field and create opportunities for new and innovative work.

NMAI’s Exhibitions and Publications program awards grants of $7,500 to $15,000 to support exhibitions, installations, publications, and critical writing that interpret and present the work of contemporary Native visual artists to the public and encourage dialogue and critical commentary. At least one-half of the proposed project team (artists, authors, curators, etc.) must be Native American or Native Hawaiian. Awards are given to nonprofit or education-based organizations. Project budgets must show a minimum 50 percent match by the applicant organization or other anticipated sources.

NMAI’s Expressive Arts program awards grants of up to $10,000 to support the creation and presentation of new works through the collaboration of two or more Native artists. Awards will specifically support the creation of new works for public performance that may include, but is not limited to, music, dance, spoken word, electronic media, costume design, mask making, set design, performance art, photography, painting, and other forms of expressive culture. The award is open to all indigenous peoples who hold citizenship in the Americas.

More info here.