Rape Survival Stories Stole the Scene at Sundance

 

Think about the women you know in your life: How many have experienced rape or sexual assault? Since even one isn’t okay, odds are it’s a number way above the realm of acceptable. And that’s just the women whose stories you know.

An unusual but welcome creative combination graced the stage this weekend at Sundance Film Festival in the name of solidarity for survivors. The Hunting Ground, an exposé of rape crimes across American college campuses,premiered alongside the unveiling of The Monument Quilt, a collaborative project crowd-sourced with stories from rape and abuse survivors.

From the people behind 2011’s powerful The Invisible War, The Hunting Ground continues the development of recent stories surrounding campus rape—and its many years-long institutional mishandling. After Sundance, the film and quilt will travel across the country, ending in 2017 in D.C., where 6,000 fabric squares will spell out “NOT ALONE” on the lawn of the national mall.

 

The quilt’s objective? To shed light on the fact that, currently, 1 in 5 female undergraduates will be assaulted during their four years at college, and more often than not they are shamed or ignored rather than believed. Stories have been stitched, painted, and written onto red fabric; the squares showcase similar stories and sentiments, but each is individually important. It’s imperative to illustrate not only the horrifying crimes themselves, but also the fact that their occurrence is so widespread. 

 

While this project showcases the sad and absurd amount of rape happening across the country, the exposure can only mean good things for survivors of rape crimes and future rape prevention. It’s heartbreaking that we need this kind of art to exist, but since visibility is essential in replacing the current rape culture with a culture of consent, we’re hopeful it will lead to a lot of good. 

Images c/o Sundance

Jaimie Warren Gets Spooky With Horrorfest 2015 And We Can't Get Enough

Goo, guts, and bloody insides bare themselves in total messy terror in Jaimie Warren’s latest photo exhibition, Jaimie Warren’s Horrorfest 2015. Definitely accustomed to the wow factor that is her work, we’ve seen (and love) all things Warren especially her series, Celebrities As Food & Food’lebrities, Totally Looks Like, and Whoop Dee Doo—just some of the epic moments of this photographer and performance artist.

Check out some of the photos below (and freaky Pennywise look-a-like above) and get the full on, horror filled experience here

images c/o vice.com and Jaimie Warren

How This Tattoo Artist Gave a Teenage Burn Victim Her Face Back

Seventeen year-old Samira Omar suffered terrible burns to her head and shoulders in a bullying incident while at school in the United Kingdom. She was afraid that she would never heal, but after returning to Canada, came across a cosmetic tattoo expert named Basma Hameed, who changed her entire outlook on healing.

Hameed suffered horrible burns herself at the age of 3,  and since then has learned and mastered the art of covering them up. She uses pigments that matches the skin tones of her patients to help them conceal their scars, and a special topical treatment that masks damage while the skin heals. Hameed has promised to help Basma—free of charge—to put this horrific incident behind her in the coming months.

 

Tattooing isn't just for people with serious burns, either. Cancer survivors go to Kim Housley, a certified cosmetic artist in Illinois after breast reconstructive surgery, to lessen the appearance of scars. Housley says that cosmetic tattooing “makes a huge difference to these women. It helps them focus on something other than the scars. I appreciate the opportunity to help them.”

Vinne Myers of Baltimore, MD, is a tattoo artist known all over the country to breast cancer survivors because of his special technique: He stencils in nipples and uses a 3D effect to make them realistic. He also mixes his own pigments to match the colors that his customers desire.

 

These procedures are typically very expensive, but they often have great results. Hameed does pro bono works regularly, and the results are fantastic both on the surface and below the skin, building people's confidence in their physical appearance. We didn't need more evidence to prove that tattoos rock, but there you have it.

Image courtesy of YouTube.

Nipples, Bush & Peen Find Freedom Online—And On The Runway


Rejoice, for the newly-liberated nipple is being joined by other body bits!

Instagram is finally making some progress on its stance about what constitutes “obscenity.” Like the Victorian institution it has time-and-again proven itself to be, the company recently took down an account for the Australian online mag Sticks and Stones when it posted a pubic hair-prominent pic:

 

This censorship perfectly aligns with society's fucked up standards of beauty. We’re supposed to be okay with photo after photo of hairless, nearly nude women on Instagram, but not with a fairly tame photo featuring women's natural body hair?!? Beyond the disturbing implication of female infantilization, this just further skews pubic public opinion about what bodies actually look like.

But on Wednesday, after weeks of #FreetheBush criticism from various media outlets—this is the Internet, after all—Insty recognized its mistake and reactivated Sticks and Stones’ account. Maybe social media is finally inching towards being a safe space for women’s bodies.

Penises are also getting the treatment they so long for and deserve: Rick Owens often brings sexual subject matter to his work (he's never been afraid to "go there"). His AW15 'SPHINX' show brought some male members to the runway, featuring garments with revealing peepholes that allowed onlookers to get an occasional dick glimpse:


Female sexuality is so often on display in photos and on the runway. We love that Owens seems to be leveling the playing field (even if it’s just the tip). 

Any other examples of anti-censorship we should know about? Share ‘em in the comments!

 Images c/o Sticks and Stones Agency and The Fashion Law

Molly Matalon: Brooklyn Shutterbug and Brow Queen

Meet Molly Matalon, a prolific young photographer and recent graduate of the School of Visual Arts. Only 23 years old, Molly has already hit the ground running and made quite the name for herself with her slick frankness and incredible eyebrow game. I sat down with Molly and asked her a few questions about making it as a female photographer and her tips and tricks of the trade. 

Tell us a little bit about yourself?

Hi, I’m a 23-year-old photographer and lady living in Brooklyn, NY. I’m originally from Boca Raton, Florida. I just graduated from the School of Visual Arts in May with a BFA in photography. I really like eating peaches in San Francisco and watching the sunset. I go to sleep before 11p.m. almost every night.

What was your experience like navigating art school as a female student?

I spent a lot of time looking at work that students were making and thinking, “I wish a woman was taking these pictures”. But I didn’t have a bad experience as a female student, I rarely felt lesser or that I was out-numbered. It’s interesting to me that there are a lot of female students in the photography program but the ‘real world’ is predominantly male… I’m still trying to figure out what happens in the transition period. 

How has life post-graduation been going? What are you working on at the moment?

Things have been a little difficult, having a hard time assimilating to a schedule where I don’t meet twice a week to have a critique. Luckily I have a tight knit group of friends here that I graduated with who are hustling so hard and are always thinking. I have been having a lot of meetings and have been trying to land editorial gigs. At the moment I am working on a project with my close friend Damien Maloney. 

What is your favorite camera to shoot with?

Mamiya rz67.

Do you remember the first image you shot, or perhaps the first image you shot and loved?

One of the first pictures I shot and loved was in high school on a 35mm camera it was black and white and of my childhood friend Skylar. In the picture, she is sitting in grass in my backyard. I remember she was wearing checkered vans and some punk band tee and the wind was blowing through her hair. 

What made you want to pursue photography?

The first magazine I had a subscription to was Rolling Stone, and I spent my teen years looking at Diane Arbus’ pictures, and my aunt is an artist. Something in the mix of those things made me want to pursue photography even though I was very unsure of what that entailed. 

Tell us about your series 'Mom'?

My mom and I had a very rough relationship for a lot of my life. I began photographing in my home and my family members and eventually just strictly shooting my mom. It made her feel important (and still does) because she knows I love photography and I was taking all of these pictures of her. Although the work is very specific to my mom, to me the work is about women and place. What do women look like in 2014 and what does a mother look like? South Florida is a very particular place about upkeep and image; I’m interested in how people begin to mirror the place they live.

What is your preferred subject?

I really like to take pictures of people’s parents and also I like to take pictures of seashells. Right now I really would love to get hired to shoot portraits of boring white men.

What advice would you give to young women interested in pursuing photography and cracking into the industry?

You have to work really hard and be passionate and professional. Don’t ever be afraid to email anyone. 

 

To see more of Molly’s work, visit her website

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