Archive for September, 2010

Advertising’s Image of Women

September 20th, 2010

My friend Kelly posted the video above today on her Facebook page. I started to write a comment on Facebook, but it got longer, and longer…..and longer. So I decided to write a blog on it instead.

There’s always been pressure on women to look a certain way, the Victorian era had extreme corsets, ancient Romans used makeup, the Chinese bound the feet, the Kayan Lahwi place brass rings around their necks.  To imply that advertising is the cause of how women feel about themselves today is disingenuous.  All of the above examples and many more were done decades and centuries before modern advertising.  Before TV, magazines, before books, and I’m sure there were ways that women changed how they look before we even had writing.

Second, where are women in this?  Is the speaker saying that women are so easily manipulated that a mere image destroys their self worth?  That women and girls don’t know and can’t be taught that what they see in advertisements is not real?  If the problems stemming from advertising are so inescapable why aren’t they more prevalent?

Third, “The person is dehumanized and violence becomes inevitable.”  Um, no.  While making a person an object may be the first step in violence against that person, I strongly disagree that it is inevitable.  To agree with that statement you would have to believe that humans are violent against all objects.  That because I think of a tree as an object I have to fight my natural urges to violently attack it?

You know what I think is causing all the self esteem problems in this country?  It’s the dichotomy between what we show and what we do.  We surround people with sex but then we tell them not to do it.  That a women’s body should be looked at, but not touched, even by her own hand.  If the only way you’re allowed to be sexual is through what you look like and what you wear, of course you’re going to take it to extremes.

We need to teach women (and girls, and boys, and men) that sex and masturbation are not bad things.  That feeling good is not something to be ashamed of.  That loving yourself physically is loving yourself mentally.

I think this last part relates to two recent posts by Katie West.

Women are sexualized and objectified to appeal to others.

and

Women who report masturbating score higher on a self-esteem index than women who do not report masturbating.

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Keesh Lorraine

September 16th, 2010

Keesh Lorraine is an amazing model in the Madison area.  You can see some of her other work on her Model Mayhem site.  I first contacted her about working with gold leaf, such as the ones I’ve done with Rebecca.  We ended up going a slightly different direction doing outdoor nudes at Devil’s Lake State Park.  While not the first time I’ve visited the park (many times as a boy scout), it was the first time I’d photographed there.  And I hadn’t been there in quite a few years.

After stopping at the Visitor’s center for a vehicle sticker, we went to the south side of the lake to climb the east bluff.

SONY DSCIn the far left distance you can see the lake, about a third of a mile away.  At this point we’re about 200’ above the lake, though we’d only gone 75’ horizontally.  I’d wanted to go higher, but, um, I’m not in that good a shape.  So we stopped here and got quite a few pictures.

SONY DSC  As you can see we’re above the tops of most of the trees.  The colors of the rocks, and the lichen really match well with her skin.

SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC This next pictures is my favorite.  The diagonals of the rocks, the matching angles of her arms and legs, the straining of her muscles.

SONY DSC On the way back down, we took a little side trail, and found a boulder field much closer to the ground.

SONY DSC SONY DSC To me it looks like she belongs there.

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Rebecca in fishnets

September 16th, 2010

Not much text with this post.  Still working my way through all the pictures from that night.  Click the pictures for larger images.Rebecca_DSC8005 Rebecca_DSC8005bw Rebecca_DSC8008 Rebecca_DSC8008bw Rebecca_DSC8015 Rebecca_DSC8015bw Rebecca_DSC8016 Rebecca_DSC8016bw Rebecca_DSC8018 Rebecca_DSC8018bw

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More Rebecca in Gold…with a Sunflower!

September 16th, 2010

Yeah, it’s been more than a few days since my last post of Rebecca.  But better late than never.

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I really liked the way the sunflower looked when I used this other black and white conversion.Rebecca_DSC8194bw2 Rebecca_DSC8196 Rebecca_DSC8196bw Rebecca_DSC8198 Rebecca_DSC8198bw

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Round and round we go…

September 16th, 2010

So it’s been a few months since the last update on my Robert W. Kastenmeier courthouse experience.  After not hearing from anyone for about 6 weeks, on February 10th, 2010 I called the offices of Representative Baldwin and Senator Feingold.  Two days later I received a letter with a number of pages from Representative Baldwin.  Click the picture to read it full size.

Representative Baldwin letter February 12th In it she recaps what has happened so far and then says that her office received a reply letter from the Department of Homeland Security on January 6th.  Would have been nice if they would have forwarded it to me when it was received. 

Apparently the Federal Protective Service, part of DHS, provides security at the vast majority of US courthouses but not Kastenmeier, which is protected by the US Marshall service.  The current U.S. Marshal told an aide to Representative Baldwin that he considered the case closed because of Judge Crabb’s letter (page 1, page 2) from November 5th.  It should be noted the the Marshal the aide spoke to is Mr. Steven Fitzgerald, who is different than the one interviewed by Bill Leuders for his Isthmus article.

The letter to Representative Baldwin from DHS is below, click to see it bigger.

DHS to Baldwin First, the letter reveals that the Federal Protective Service has “no record or contact with Mr. Zytkiewicz".  Well, that’s good because I never gave anyone my name, they’d only know it from the letters.

It goes on to say that while FPS provides security for 800 courthouses, the Robert W. Kastenmeier courthouse is one of seven pilot facilities where security is provided by the U.S. Marshal service.  Well, isn’t that interesting.  How many parts of our government don’t know what the hell is going on with other parts of the government?  First it was GSA, then it was DHS, now it’s the U.S. Marshal service with is under the Department of Justice.

The letter then goes on for almost a paragraph about the often repeated lie that terrorist use photography. 

“Therefore, as a precautionary measure, FPS personnel may approach individuals photographing Federal buildings in an attempt to ascertain their reasons for photographing the facility, so as to protect against security compromises.”

This is just so ludicrous.  Much better writers than I have written pages and pages about why idea’s like this don’t work.  Just a few days ago Stephen Haynes wrote a wonderful piece about Security Theater.

Now the last sentence of the paragraph is very interesting.  It may even be useful to photographers to print out this letter and carry it with them.

“Unless there is a reasonable belief that criminal or terrorist reconnaissance activity is involved, FPS guidelines regarding this issue prohibit FPS personnel from taking any enforcement action, including detaining persons or seizing cameras or film.”

Now, I’m not a lawyer, and have no legal training.  But I do know that reasonable belief, and reasonable suspicion are closely related.  Meaning that FPS personnel and law enforcement officers must have specific evidence that would lead a reasonable person to believe that you have committed, are committing, or about to commit a crime.  I highly doubt that taking pictures of a public building, standing on public property, making no attempt to conceal your actions would lead anyone to believe you are a criminal.

So now I guess I write some letters to the Mr. Fitzgerald, the U.S. Marshals service, and Attorney General Eric Holder.

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More of Rebecca

September 16th, 2010

Some more of Rebecca.  I still have hundreds of pictures to go through, just from the day we shot these.

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Casie

September 16th, 2010

I first met Casie on Twitter http://twitter.com/casiemoore .  After a few weeks I asked her to pose for me, she came over in mid November.  This is the first set.  I’ll have more later.

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Homeland Security knows my name.

September 16th, 2010

So a few things have happened since I wrote my last update on my experience at the Robert W. Kastenmeier Courthouse.

First, on December 4th I was interviewed live on the radio by Sly on Sly in the Morning 1670 WTDY-Madison.  You can hear the segment here.

I’d like to thank Dylan the Executive Producer of Sly in the Morning.  He converted the recording of my encounter with the guard into a WAV file and tweaked the volume so it’s easier to hear.  You can find it here.

I’ve also received a follow up letter from Representative Baldwin’s office.

GSA to Baldwin It seems that the GSA is not responsible for the security of federal courthouses, that task belongs to the Department of Homeland Security.  So Ralph Conner, Acting Associate Administrator of the GSA has forwarded my letter to Phillip McNamara, Executive Secretary of DHS.

GSA to Homeland Security And lastly I received a copy of a letter sent by Senator Russ Feingold to Chani Wiggins, Assistant Secretary for Legislative Affairs, who is also with the Department of Homeland Security.

Feingold to Homeland Security I particularly like the Senators letter for phrases such as “street view photographs” and a request for a “response detailing any restrictions on the photographing of federal buildings”.

One interesting piece of trivia I found when researching the Department of Homeland Security was this organizational chart.

Homeland-security-orgchart-2008-07-17 It appears that Mr. McNamara is only two steps away from the Secretary of Homeland Security, and Ms. Wiggins is only one step away.  Since the Secretary of Homeland Security reports directly to the President I can’t go much higher.

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Rebecca in her Red Dress

September 16th, 2010

No real comments on these, from the same day as Rebecca on the Prairie and New Picture of Rebecca.Rebecca_DSC7885 Rebecca_DSC7885bw Rebecca_DSC7886

Rebecca_DSC7886bw Rebecca_DSC7896 Rebecca_DSC7896bw

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New picture of Rebecca

September 16th, 2010

Rebecca_DSC8193

Isn’t this a great picture?  The gold on her body is real gold.  I picked up a package of Gold Leaf at my local art supply store.  We stuck it to her body using cooking spray and paintbrushes.  After the shoot it wiped right off with paper towels.  The Sunflower is from the Dane County Farmers Market.

I have many more from this set, stay tuned.

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