VICE Magazine is featuring exclusively women photographers — and we are screaming! The 15th annual photo issue puts together 38 compelling artists that depict diverse narratives from all over the world with such a compassionate touch, that it challenges the way we see our globe. It's an intimate and provocative 184-page celebration of art created solely by women.
VICE'S photo editor Elizabeth Renstrom writes in the opening letter that women in the art field are certainly not a new phenomenon."Women have been fundamental to the art of photography since, well, there were photographs. They've been schlepping equipment, huffing darkroom fumes, and sharp-elbowing for scarce gallery space since before they could vote,” she writes. “Their way of seeing the world isn't new—we're just new to see the world through their eyes.”
Flipping through, it doesn't necessarily feel like a “girl issue,” as Renstrom points out. As I pored over the issue, I was blown away by the incredible collection of art and photojournalism that touches on migrant identity, class, masculinity and many other issues. What particularly struck me was the intimacy it captures between the photographer and subjects. It's such a beautiful humanistic portrayal of the many communities that intersect in our diverse world, told from a woman's perspective.
The photo issue increases the amount of visible female artists out there. “It's definitely important to me to share diverse perspectives and different types of photography," Renstrom tells BUST.
It's the showcase of these varied perspectives that challenge how we see identity in our changing world. Two of my favorite collections in the issue feature two very different communities in Isreal. One portrays the intimate lives of female Israeli soldiers, while another captures the migrant barbershop culture in Tel Aviv. Renstrom says, “Sometimes when you name a place like Israel — you have all these preconceived notions of the people who are living there — and you don't necessarily spend time on of the stories of different communities. Those varied perspectives are so important.”
The photo editor remarks the central theme that connects the photographs is the patient eye. It's a celebration of perseverance and dedication these women poured into their photographs, as well as the patience that is required of the consumer, in order to challenge their viewpoint.
Below are 10 amazing photographers featured in VICE’s photo issue.
1.The Boys Club
Jill Freedman, @jillfreedmanphoto
Jill Freedman, whose award-winning street photography has captured five decades of NYC life, and mostly of men. Her portfolio is snaps of men through a woman's eyes. “Men are just so weird. What do men want? — one minute you love them and another you want to kill them.”
2.Sunshine in the Kingdom of Saudi
Ayesha Malik grew up in one of Saudi Arabia's gated communities. She became curious about the changing nature of Saudi identity as a young woman. “I believe Saudi Arabia is a place that needs a space to breath. I imagine the photos I make here are those necessary breaths. It can be difficult to be a woman photographer here, but with an open heart and mind, I hope to document the vastness that is sadly identity."
3. Set Piece
Cait Oppermann, @caitoppermann
Over the course of three months, Oppermann spent time with members of the National Women’s Football League and captured the human side of female superstars. She remarked how even these powerful athletes are still plagued by insecure thoughts that affect many women.
4. Am I What You're Looking For?
Endia Beal, @endia_beal
Beal tackles how black women's hairstyles and fashion choices are often seen as unprofessional and problematic. In her series, she captures the struggle of young black women entering the workforce for the first time. She depicts them — “between the worlds of identity and conformity."
5.Third Culture Kids
Atong Atem, @atongatem
Atem's family fled South Sudan when she was just six years old. After living in a refugee camp, her family left for Australia, settling into a very white world. Her portrait photography of first and second-generation African migrants in Australia captures the difficult sense of identity migrants can have in Western Cultures — the feeling of never belonging in either world.
Carolyn Drake, Magnum Photos, @drakeycake
Drake intimately captures a northern California town, Vallejo — a once thriving city that went bankrupt in 1996. Surrounding by gentrified Bay Area and Silicon Valley, Drake celebrates this town's diversity and color — portraying a side of California we often don't see.
7. Fade to Black
Tamara Abdul Hadi, @tamarabda
Hadi spotlights the barbershop culture of African-migrants, who call Tel Aviv home. She was struck by the fashion sense of the community and began documenting their styles, hair cuts, and afros.
8.Intimate Portrayal of Female Israeli Soldiers
Inspired by her own experience, Toledano depicts her time during the army that is required of all Isreali teenagers. She felt completely deprived of her femininity and sense of her identity as an individual. The photos show teenage wonder and girly intimacy.
9. The Office of Hope
Natalie Keyssar, @nataliekeyssar
In the past few years, Venezuela has seen a spike in violence and chaos. Keyssar's work is about inequality and tension in daily life. “Sometimes we think problems in a country, civil unrest or violence, happen in isolation. But the reality is that these types of events are things that happen in the context of daily life. When I'm shooting, I'm not thinking about adding pieces of the puzzle photographically, I'm really just shooting how I feel.”
Izumi Miyazki, 未設定
When she was just 15 years old, Miyazaki gained attention on Tumblr for her surrealist self-portraits, that poke at Japanese cultural stereotypes. It's a glance at how our surroundings can shape our identity. She is still only just 18 years old.
Check out the collection of videos and photos on Instagram.
All photos printed with permission
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Patricia is a writer, activist, and aspiring journalist. She likes writing about politics, sexuality, and feminism. She is a bit of a wanderer and has lived in Morocco, Australia, and India. Recently moved to Brooklyn, she is currently learning to navigate NYC subways.