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Matinee: 'Women in the 21st Century' Share This on LinkedIn   Share This on Google   Tweet This   Forward This

9 March 2019

Saturday matinees long ago let us escape from the ordinary world to the island of the Swiss Family Robinson or the mutinous decks of the Bounty. Why not, we thought, escape the usual fare here with Saturday matinees of our favorite photography films?

So we're pleased to present the 282nd in our series of Saturday matinees today: Women in the 21st Century.

This 16:44 silent video is a series of slide shows, each of which presents a portrait of women in this century. The images were submitted to Photomonth, the east London photography festival, which was held late last year.

According to the organizers:

The Festival aims to demonstrate the diversity of contemporary photography and reach the widest possible audience. Since 2001 Photomonth has become one of the largest and most inclusive festivals in the U.K. -- bringing innovation and inspiration through the Open Call for exhibitions, giving the opportunity for emerging artists to be appreciated in a wide variety of interesting and unusual spaces alongside leading internationally renowned photographers in galleries and major institutions.

Photomonth 2018 opened with the Photo-Open at theprintspace, a printing and framing service, where these images were exhibited. Here's a brief but charming look at that venue, showing an exhibit at the end:

Heather McDonough put the Photo-Open video together. She makes photo books and short films.

There's only a title where sponsors are listed and a black slide with the photographer's name to introduce each slide show. The photographers, both women and men, appear in alphabetical order. Some slide shows are extensive, some are as brief as a single image.

But there are quite a few photographers represented. And consequently quite a diversity of styles and subjects even if all of them focus on women in this century.

The effect of watching it all the way through was enchanting. There is a little bit of everything, women of all ages and races in a variety of situations. People, in short.

But they are not snapshots.

Even Christian Sinibaldi's sequence of a group of Iranian women watching what must have been a soccer match with the national team are shot carefully from next to the TV in a sequence of three images that will make you laugh and mourn along with them.

Marie Sleigh's single image of an elderly woman in an old dress and cardigan sitting on her sofa with her vacuum tucked in where an end table might be was particularly touching. Was the vacuum, a recent model, a prized possession? In the half light of the afternoon she seemed content with what was left to her.

And Sara Ainslie's environmental portraits right at the beginning set the tone for the work you're about to see.

But that's just a few of the photographers whose work stuck with us. We liked Mhairi Bell-Moodie's portraits with Post-it notes, Nicholas Cobb's manipulated emulsions, Suke Driver's therapist, Julio Etchart's musicians, Ade Okelarin' portraits against a wall of flowers -- well, we could go on.

But we'll stop so you can enjoy the show.

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