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Sarah Elliott

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A year after they both captured the global imagination, the revolutions in Egypt and Libya are now poised on a knife-edge. The sense of hope that followed the departures of Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak and Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi — the former nudged out of power by the army top brass; the latter eventually killed by rebel militia after a bloody eight-month civil war — has withered. In Egypt, the shadow of the country’s domineering military looms large despite the victory in presidential elections of a candidate from the once-banned Muslim Brotherhood. (Many liberals, meanwhile, question the Islamists’ commitment to a free and open democracy.) In Libya, the violent overthrow of the four-decade old Gaddafi dictatorship has left behind a fledgling state that is riven by tribal militias, even as the nation held elections last weekend.

Witnessing the upheaval firsthand, photojournalist Sarah Elliott set about documenting those who have had most to gain — and to lose — from the transformations of the Arab Spring: women. The revolutions in both countries, which were aimed at toppling an encrusted, deep-seated authoritarianism, presented women “with opportunities they had never before imagined,” says Elliott. Women massed on the frontlines of protests in Cairo’s Tahrir Square; in Libya, some were on the frontlines as well — with machine guns.

Yet when Elliott arrived in Libya last August, not long before the fall of the capital Tripoli, she entered a story that seemed — at least as it was being conveyed then to the outside world — bereft of women. While myriad images beamed out of North Africa depicted crowds of men chanting in the streets or strutting around abandoned tanks, “women were totally unseen, they were absent,” says Elliott. In Tripoli, she went to hospitals and prisons, civil society meetings and ransacked government buildings, interviewing women from all walks of life and political stripes. Her project includes both a pro-Gaddafi sniper, whom Elliott first encounters on a hospital bed and then at a makeshift prison, as well as a range of women affiliated with the rebellion—including one lady who would smuggle bullets in her handbag and another, a fighter on the front, who named her child after the popular “Doshka” machine gun.

Elliott’s photographs blend portraiture and reportage; the testimony of those she documents is important. “I wasn’t just snapping pics,” says Elliott. “I sat down with them for hours and kept in contact. I want to fully tell their story.” She hopes to expand the project from Libya and Egypt to cover the whole breadth of the Arab Spring — most immediately Tunisia, where last year’s seismic upheavals first began and where a fragile consensus exists between the Islamist and secularist forces that came to power in the revolution’s wake.

(Related: Egypt’s Muslim Sisterhood: What roles do Islamist women play?)

For women, much is at stake. The promise of sweeping political change has run up against the realities of conservative, deeply patriarchal societies. In both post-revolution Egypt and Libya, Islamist pressure led to the axing of minimum quotas for women in the countries’ new elected legislatures. Fears grow over a roll-back of the moderate gains made by women’s rights in the era of the dictatorships, which, while repressive, tended to be secular. In Egypt, incidences of sexual harassment and intimidation — which had a brief reprieve during the giddy days of unity at Tahrir Square — have worsened; many feel increasingly marginalized by the post-revolution status quo. “For women, there’s a sense that their revolution never really ended,” says Elliott. She hopes to follow them as their struggle continues.

Sarah Elliott is a Nairobi-based photographer. See more of her work here.

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Erupting volcanoes, drug wars, famine in Niger, aftermath of the Haiti earthquake, children suffering from Agent Orange disabilities, abortions performed by untrained practitioners in Kenya but also lucha libre for women, traveling cinema in India and couchsurfing in Brooklyn continue

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July’s first instalment of Photojournalism Links….Getting a bit sloppy..It’s Monday already again… Oh well…

First off… BJP reports that Iranian press photographer Maryam Majd is still being detained in the Evin prison for her work on women’s rights… ‘Photojournalists appeal for Iranian photographer’s release’ 

Some good news too…NYT: 2 French Journalists Freed by Afghan Militants 

Features and Essays 

One of my favourite photojournalists Shaul Schwarz had two, obviously, very strong pieces on TIME Lightbox last week…a series of stills and a short video, both related to this Narco Culture project…

Stills…

Shaul Schwarz: Mexico’s Ongoing Drug Violence (TIME LB: July 2011)

Video…

Shaul Schwarz: Aerial Drug Bust at the Mexican Border (TIME LB: July 2011)

Schwarz is releasing both a Narco Culture documentary and a book next year… Eagerly waiting for both of those… You can see the trailer on the project website here.

Sudan division nearing…

Tyler Hicks: Sudanese Seek Refuge from Bombing (NYT: July 2011)

Sarah Elliott: When Home is New (Sudan) (Newsweek: June 2011) Young Exiles Return to South Sudan

Happy birthday America…

I was following Magnum’s first Postcards from America road trip daily in May… There’s a selection of 100 photos on the agency’s website…

Photo: Alec Soth

Magnum Photos (various photographers):  Postcards From America (Magnum: June 2011)

Phil Bergerson:  Shards of America (TIME: July 2011)

Bruce Gilden: Fresno (Magnum in Motion: June 2011)

Antonin Kratochvil: In America (VII Magazine: July 2011)

Stuart Freedman: Delhi’s Army of Homeless (Panos: July 2011)

Mishka Henner: In a Foreign Land (Panos: July 2011)

Kadir van Lohuizen: The Mapuche Indians (NOOR: June 2011) You can follow his ViaPanam blog here.

Afghanistan…

Gratiane de Moustier: Afghanistan in Transition (Reportage by Getty Images: June 2011)

Was reading Newsweek last week.. It had an article on President’ Obama’s dilemma relating to the economics of withdrawing troops from Afghanistan…Article was accompanied with two Rita Leister - Basetrack photos…see below…

Basetrack’s Photostream on Flickr

Gary Knight: Living with HIV (Burma) (VII: July 2011)

Really couldn’t enjoy viewing the below Dominic Nahr’s slideshow on the Magnum Emergency Fund website, but to no fault of the photographer…Either it’s my connection or bad website design..Every photo ‘loads’ separately and half of the time I was staring ‘a loading wheel’ going from 1% to 100% before seeing each of the images… Annoying..Hope it works better for you..

Dominic Nahr: The Unhealed Rift (Kenya) (Magnum Emergency Fund: June 2011)

Tomas van Houtryve: Laos: Open Secret (VII Network: July 2011)

Abbey Trayler-Smith: KO’d in Kabul (Panos: July 2011)

Stefano de Luigi: Ivory Coast (VII Network: July 2011)

Peter Marlow: Point of Interest (Magnum: July 2011)

Chris de Bode: When the Guns Fall Silent (Panos: June 2011)

Pierfrancesco Celada: Japan, I Wish I Knew Your Name (TIME LB: June 2011)

Jeremy Suyker: Jaffna: In the Aftermath of the Sri Lankan Civil War (Foto8: June 2011)

Muhammed Muheisen: Quiet, but Telling, Scenes in Pakistan (NYT Lens: June 2011)

Chloe Dewe Mathews: Banger Boys (Panos: July 2011)

Eivind Natvig: You Are Here (TIME LB: June 2011)

Articles

This week’s must read…. John Stanmeyer on pitching and planning a National Geographic photo essay…below a photo of Stanmeyer working..

Photo: Anil Chandra Roy

John Stanmeyer: The Amazing Yellow-Bordered Magazine (Photographer’s blog: June 2011)

I’d also like to recommend DuckRabbit’s post on war photographers… Make sure to read the comments…

DuckRabbit: The war photographer’s biggest story: themselves (Duckrabbit: June 2011)

David Campbell: Thinking Images v.19: Do local photographers have a distinctive eye? (DC Blog: June 2011)

I’d also recommend going back to David Campbell’s earlier post ‘Who’s Afraid of Home?’ to read some of the comments

PDN: 4 Questions to Ask Before Donating to a Charity Photo Auction (PDN: June 2011)

Jeremy Nicholl: The Photographer, The Entrepreneur, The Stockbroker And Their Rent-A-Mob (Photographer’s blog: June 2011)

NYT Lens: JR | Eyes on, and of, a South Bronx Community (NYT Lens: June 2011)

Guardian: Vanessa Winship’s Poetic Portraits (Guardian: June 2011)

Guardian: Featured Photojournalist: Urial Sinai (Guardian: June 2011)

Guardian: Steve McCurry : The Eyes Have It (Guardian: June 2011)

BJP: Stockpiling trouble: How the stock industry ate itself? (BJP: June 2011)

BJP: ICP graduate wins Humanitarian Visa d’Or award (BJP: June 2011)

Black Star Rising: The Photographer’s Life Should Start with Family (BSR: 2011)

Napa Valley Register: Windows XP desktop screen is a Napa image (Napa Valley Register: June 2011)

Interviews 

“I’m doing exactly what I want, and there are people paying me well to do it. It’s a fantastic life.” – Martin Parr

Martin Parr (Urban Outfitters: June 2011)

Lynsey Addario (Youtube: 2011)

Peter van Agtmael (e-photoreview: 2011)

Recommended….

University College Falmouth Press and Editorial Photography students have made an excellent Professional Profiles interview series…

Professional Profiles interviews pt 1 | pt 2 | pt 3 | pt 4

Elin Hoyland (e-photoreview: June 2011)

Seba Kurtis (C U Photography: June 2011)

Pierfrancesco Celada (Ameteur Photographer: June 2011)

Awards, Grants, and Competitions

The Carmignac Gestion Photojournalism Award offers €50,000 grant to develop a project in Zimbabwe | Article on BJP

Aftermath $20,000 grant for conflict photographers and a $5,000 grant for fixers & translators. | direct link to PDF

Jobs – Senior Photo Editor Daily Beast : NYC

Photographers – Stacy Kranitz

FacebookDuckRabbit

TwitterAndre Liohn

TwitterIvor Prickett

WebsitesSusan Bright

multiMedia - Love Issue

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