Very Inspirational talk by Laura El Tantawy today at University Campus, Weston College.
Laura El-Tantawy is an Egyptian photographer. She was born in Worcestershire, England to Egyptian parents & grew up between Saudi Arabia, Egypt & the US. In 2002, she started her career as a newspaper photographer with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel & Sarasota Herald- Tribune (USA). In 2006, she became freelance so she could focus on pursuing personal projects. She is a graduate of the University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia (USA) with dual degrees in journalism & political science.
Laura discussed her path into photography and her choice to focus on personal projects rather than assignment work. “It’s important for me to maintain my sense of independence as a photographer. There is more than one road to doing so and given the nature of the profession and the sheer number of photographers versus work, it is important to understand who you are and what your work represents amid this influx of imagery in order to find your place,” she says. Her talk focussed on her long-term project “In the Shadow of the Pyramids”, with pictures spanning 2005-2014 covering the political and social upheaval in Cairo’s streets along with her personal search for identity in a changing country. The book is being published by Dewi Lewis and due for release in late January 2015.
Visit her site below to see her work
I thought these images from different 'Black Friday's' made interesting Juxtapositions.
'A day once synonymous with fighting for social justice has been rebranded to being associated with fighting for large, flat panel TVs and energy hungry gadgets'...'Whoever named Black Friday failed history at school or was being bitterly ironic, as the precedents are bleak. You can pick between the chronic ‘Black Friday’ stock market crash of 1869, driven by gold speculators, or the brutal ‘Black Friday’ assaults by police on Suffragettes in 1910.' Andrew Simms Onehundredmonths.org
28th November 2014, UK: 'Police have been called to supermarkets across the UK amid crowd surges as people hunt for "Black Friday" offers.' BBC
28th November 2014 USA: 'For the past two nights protesters dismayed by the outcome of the Ferguson grand jury have taken their defiance to the streets of cities across the US'Ferguson activists direct anger at police brutality into Black Friday boycott. Campaign against consumer holiday crops up with modified slogans ‘Hands up don’t shop’ and ‘Don’t riot don’t buy' it’ Ed Pilkington Guardian
'Friday 18th November 1910) a suffragette deputation to the House of Commons met with a six hour onslaught of police brutality resulting in a the Suffragettes beginning a huge window smashing campaign in protest.' CounterFire
'Autumn 1892 in Bristol saw a violent class war between employers, strike-breaking labour and police on one side and strikers and their mass of working class supporters on the other. Picketing, mass marches and public meetings of thousands of ‘new’ industrial unionists were common, culminating in the use of military and police by the local state to break up a pre-Christmas lantern parade organised to collect money for strikers and their families. This event, which popularly became known as ‘Black Friday’, is an iconic moment in Bristol’s history exposing the relations of force between ‘owners’ and ‘workers’.' BRH
A few weeks back I visited the World War 1 memorial, 'Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red' created by ceramic artist Paul Cummins, with setting by stage designer Tom Piper, at The Tower of London. It is an immense Installation and I like many of the millions that have flocked to see it found it a profoundly moving spectacle, despite the crowds, 'gentle jostling and sense of fun'.
However I do feel Jonathan Jones, writing in The Guardian, does make some very important points and valid arguments regarding the memorial.
'By the time Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red is completed – and it’s nearly there now – it will consist of 888,246 ceramic poppies, each representing a British fatality in the first world war. It is deeply disturbing that a hundred years on from 1914, we can only mark this terrible war as a national tragedy. Nationalism – the 19th-century invention of nations as an ideal, as romantic unions of blood and patriotism – caused the great war. What does it say about Britain in 2014 that we still narrowly remember our own dead and do not mourn the German or French or Russian victims?'
And in a later, article, defending his arguments against the severe backlash he wrote:
'In so explicitly recording only the British dead of world war one, this work of art in its tasteful way confirms the illusion that we are an island of heroes with no debt to anyone else, no fraternity for anyone else.
The war poet Wilfred Owen did not want us to remember him and his contemporaries with the bland sentimentality of this installation. He wished instead we could witness what he witnessed, a young man dying in a gas attack:
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs, Obscene as cancer … My friend, you would not tell with such high zest To children ardent for some desperate glory, The old Lie; Dulce et Decorum est Pro patria mori.
A true work of art about the first world war would need to be as obscene as cancer. But Owen, who died soon after writing this, is “represented” by one of those ceramic flowers now, his bitter truth smoothed away by the potter’s decorous hand.'
Links to the full articles are below: