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The Henri Cartier-Bresson Award

My work on the Power of SHe project has been nominated for a HCB Award!

For all the details please stop by http://tdphotography.me/2013/the-henri-cartier-bresson-award/ – it also includes a big THANK YOU to the Avenue Community Center for believing in me and my work as a photographer.

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Be careful, don’t get raped!

We live in a culture of rape, and it’s truly ridiculous.  We teach our daughters how to avoid being raped, when we should be teaching our sons not to rape people.  Men should be seriously offended that society views their natural state as rapist, after all…  Women and girls are the ones who need to change their behaviour least they provoke some dormant rapist to the surface of that fine gentleman who lives in their dorm.

I would have hit the “reblog” button if there had been one, but there wasn’t.  So here’s a diatribe to read.  Go.  Read.  Follow her links.  Comment.  Share.  And for f#%ks sake, lets change the freakin’ landscape.  Rapist is not the inherent truth of man.

 

http://www.laughmom.com/2013/03/i-am-so-fucking-sick-of-teaching-our-daughters-not-to-get-raped/

 

The Power of SHe – Photography Debut

Last night marked the debut of six pieces from my Power of SHe project.  They were premiered at the Mosaic art and fashion show, celebrating the 20th anniversary of Pride in Saskatoon.  It was a sold out event, with spectacular performances, beautiful clothing, and an outstanding array of artistic work.  I was proud to have my work featured at such a fabulous event.  My congratulations to the Saskatoon Diversity Network for putting on this groundbreaking event, and my thanks for all their hard work.

Now, without further ado, I’d like to introduce you to the six pieces I debuted last night.  As many of you are aware, The Power of SHe is a personal project of mine focusing on how we, as Women, choose to define ourselves vs how society and the media seek to define and confine us.  I hope it forces people to take a closer look at what makes us who we are, and find those things which unite us.  As Women we should be supporting one another in our choices, finding strength within ourselves and helping to empower our sisters.  That is what The Power of SHe is all about.

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All six images can be seen in greater detail (and are available for purchase) at:  http://td365.smugmug.com/Art/The-Power-of-SHe/  For information on how you can become involved in this important project, visit http://photography.tobi-dawne.com/Power_of_SHe.html

 

Government sanctioned discrimination, way to go Canada!

So, it appears Canada is again on the chopping block thanks to Harper.  Our flags once waved proud, but now are just as often full of disgrace.  This newest measure allows discrimination based on gender, going so far as to allow airport security the right to allow or deny access to individuals based on their gender.

Under section 5.2(1)(c) of the Aeronautics Act:

“An air carrier shall not transport a passenger if:  the passenger does not appear to be of the gender indicated on the identification he or she presents.”

Why is this an issue?  Because for many Trans individuals the sex on their passport may not coincide with their gender.  There are very strict rules in place for changing the sex on your international identification that only a very small segment of the populace qualifies for.  These rules make it impossible for non-operative Trans people to have the M or F on their documents changed to reflect their actual gender.  A better solution, if this wording is to remain in place would be to allow for an “Other” designation.  Gender is, after all, a social construct that has nothing to do with an individuals sex (which, lets be honest, also has more than two possibilities).  Alas, we are stuck in a society that appears to enjoy this incorrect, yet entrenched, gender binary.

This goes even farther though.  The instant we allow those with limited power the ability to select who qualifies as female and who as male – based on how they present, we are opening ourselves up for all sorts of abuses.  Gender is a social construct that changes with time.  It used to be that we dressed our long haired little boys in pink dresses, while the girls wore blue.

What happens when the thirteen year old girl, with short cropped hair, wearing low rise baggy pants and a jersey is denied access to a plane to fly home to her parents after spending part of the Summer with her grandparents?  This policy gives airports the right to determine who is female enough, or male enough to board their planes.  The potential abuses this brings forward are downright scary.  Don’t think for a second that because you are not a genderqueer, or trans individual, or because you don’t have a gender creative child that it won’t affect you.  This is something that has the potential to harm us all.  Will we all have to don a dress and kerchief in order to be female enough to avoid speculation?  It’s a scary idea.  Men, don’t even think about wearing that salmon coloured shirt, you too may be pulled for questioning regarding your gender presentation.  Is this really a slope we even want to start on?

There is a petition here:  http://www.petitiononlinecanada.com/petition/tell-harper-to-allow-trans-people-to-fly-on-airplanes/758  Add your name, and let Harper and his yes men know that you are saying NO to this government sanctioned discrimination.  And for more information and ideas on what you can do to combat this, check out what Chris Milloy has to say here:  http://chrismilloy.ca/2012/01/transgender-people-are-completely-banned-from-boarding-airplanes-in-canada/

female enough to fly?In 1930 Amy Johnson finished a record-winning solo flight from England to Australia.  Would she be “female enough” to be allowed on a plane in Canada in 2012?  I wonder.

Raised to be censored.

I logged in today specifically to write more about Women and the fight to challenge societies notions of what and who we are to be.  So it was seemingly appropriate to discover the following when I clicked on WordPress in my toolbar:

wordpress has been censored

Of course, WordPress isn’t protesting on behalf of gender issues, it’s doing so to help prevent the potential screening and censoring of content on the web.  Another important issue that could affect us all.  But in all honesty, these repeating black boxes got me thinking.  Children are essentially raised to be censored.

As a society we don’t raise our children to be radical free thinkers out to change the rules and defy convention.  We raise our children to fit in, to maintain the status quo, to work within the system, to be censored – by us, by society, by themselves.  It’s a sad state of affairs.

Colour within the lines.

Present yourselves as society deems appropriate.

Working on the Power of SHe project has been challenging if for no other reason than I am forcing myself and my models to defy convention.  There are many shots that I have set up in my mind, but finding women brave enough and strong enough to participate with me is hard.  I don’t want airbrushed, magazine ready bodies.  I want real women, PERFECT in their natural, untended, and even derelict form.  Mother’s aprons, scars, celluloid, stretch marks – part of lives well lived.  Time for them to be celebrated not censored.  Love yourself in your decrepitude.  It’s time to teach our daughters a new standard of beauty, one free of censored black boxes and filled with the rosy pink hues of love.

Get involved!  I need you!  Please.

You can drop me a line any time to volunteer for this project – photographer at tobi-dawne dot com

Let’s break free of the black boxes society insists on using to mask and muffle us.  Embrace all it is to be a Woman, and celebrate in your own flesh!

wordpress, censored black boxes

A girl is a girl is a girl!

A “girl” is not defined by what is between her legs as this Girl Scout and her family believe.  Having someone so young spouting such bigotry and hatred breaks my heart.  I don’t blame her though, the fault lies with her family and community at large.  It is hard enough growing up confident and secure in oneself without the added problems faced by transgendered children.  To recommend that people boycott Girl Scout Cookies because Girl Scouts (as an organization) have chosen to accept transgirls as they are, as GIRLS, is abhorrent in every possible way.  This girl’s family should be ashamed for spreading such hate through their child.  Talk about pushing an adult agenda.  Hate is ALWAYS an adult agenda, it’s never the choice of a child.

So go!  Buy your cookies.  Heck!  I’m considering having some shipped up here to Canada just to say YES! We support our girls!  ALL of our girls.

Want to see what has me so upset?  Check out the hate below:

And some people wonder why my project “The Power of SHe” is so important, now more than ever.  For more information on The Power of SHe, and how you can get involved, head on over to:  https://td365.wordpress.com/2011/12/10/the-power-of-she-2/  I’m currently looking for women interested in being photographed…  I have some captures in mind, but some will be based on the stories of those who apply.  Let’s challenge the view of what defines Women.  We are mighty!  Diverse yet united!

Rion Sabean and the Men-Ups

Okay, I realize I’ve already posted once tonight…  but this is just too fabulous to sit on!

A friend turned me onto this fellows work.  Unfortunately it’s too late to get one of his men-ups calendars, they’ve sold out, but I freaking love this series and everything it has to say about the absolute ridiculous nature of pin-up photography  LURVE these!

Rusty:  April's pin-up

Oh Rusty, with your bright white socks and shoes, grunged up forehead, and duck-face.  You are just too fabulous for words!

Seriously people, you have no idea how many women request this pose during boudoir shoots, and you have no idea how FEW individuals it actually flatters.  On Rusty though, our pin-up model for April (my birth month) it actually looks pretty good.

Keep up the good work Rion Sabean.  The best photography makes us think, and this series achieves that spectacularly!

The Power of SHe!

It’s a late night for the Smith household.  We just got home and kid-kid is fast asleep.  We went from a late afternoon photoshoot (my husband serving as an assistant) straight to my parents place and spent the evening/night there while they went out to visit with friends and listen to music.  I’m always happy to help out watching my youngest sister and the older gentlemen who live there, but it was a very late night for the little girl – so it’s nice to have her in bed now.

My photo shoot today was the first in my The Power of SHe project.  It was with a fabulous woman named Sigrid.  She dressed in full Viking kit, complete with sword and shield.  And I was thankful for the mild Winter weather as we were shooting outdoors – down near the ice flows on the river.  I can’t tell you how excited I am to finally have the time to devote to this project.  It’s been in the planning for a couple of months now.

Initially I began working on a project I called Celebrating Motherhood…  but it became clear to me that this was only one aspect of our story – the shared narrative of what it is to be Women.  So Celebrating Motherhood has been swallowed by The Power of SHe.  The motherhood segment will receive it’s on exhibit space – as I believe it deserves it, but it is part of an even greater project celebrating all that we, as women, are.

So today, the first of several planned shoots for this exhibition took place – and it feels damn good to finally be moving forward on it.  I really enjoyed working with Sigrid, and am sooo looking forward to doing the remaining work on the pieces we’ve begun creating today.  I’d have liked to have started the post-shoot work already, but as I mentioned…  kinda busy with family.  😉

I have a few more shots planned out in my head for which I’m seeking the right “models”.  And no, I’m not looking for professional models.  I’m looking for real women, with stories, with lives, with histories…  And even if I don’t have something planned that would be right for YOU, and you are interested in participating, drop me a line.  Perhaps you will inspire the next shot in this project.

Here are a few things I know I’m looking for:

  • a nursing mother engaged in an extended breastfeeding relationship
  • a nursing mother currently nursing two children
  • a woman willing to appear in her skivies in a public place (nothing erotic, I promise)
  • a woman willing to be photographed in a body suit outdoors in Winter
  • any women with interesting hobbies or histories  (Sigrid was one who inspired me with her story, and the image/shoot was built around her)
  • a drag queen (drag queen’s may not be women but their art is in celebration of women)

This project excites me to my very core.  It will bring about questions for some, and answers for others.  It’s about finding unity amongst diversity, what makes us Women?  What defines us?  Where do we draw our strength?  How do we find our power?  It will be an amazing journey!

 

The Power of She!

A friend had this on her FB status:

I am not hot or gorgeous. I don’t have an amazing figure or a flat stomach. I’m far from being considered a model, but I’m ME. I eat food, have curves, love my PJ’s, and will go out without make up on. I’m random and crazy, and I don’t pretend to be someone I’m not. I am who I am, love me or not, It won’t change ME! Ladies put this on your status if your proud of who you are.

I say to hell with that! I am hot, I am gorgeous. My figure is perfect. No, I don’t have a flat stomach, and I’m far from being considered a model. I’m a mom. And I kick ass! 😀

It’s about time we stop criticizing ourselves. Don’t buy into what the media tells you beauty is. Beauty is honesty. Beauty is loving who you are for who you are. THAT is hot. THAT is gorgeous. Love yourself, but don’t do so with apologies.  Be proud of who you are, but don’t undercut that by leading with “I am not hot or gorgeous.”  Doesn’t that defeat the whole freakin’ purpose?

The media may try to dictate to us what is “hot”, what is “gorgeous”.  But don’t let them.  Don’t allow them to define you.

I’m a size fifteen, and I’m 5’0″.  According to the media I’m not worth looking at, but you know what?  They’re so beyond wrong!  So flipping beyond wrong that it amazes me.  I may have a “mother’s apron”, but you know what?  I’M A MOM!!!  That doesn’t take away from my beauty, it only adds to it.

Join me in celebrating all that women are, all that we can be.  All that the public media would edit out.

Women are strong.  Women are smart.  Women are beautiful.  Women are amazing.  Women are diverse.

This project is about celebrating women, for all that we are.

Together, myself and artist Zacery Volpe will seek to find unity through diversity.  Strength in the face of the media’s insistence of inferiority.

Interested?  Drop me a line.  This project is about celebrating women (and that is decidedly NOT limited to cis women) in all our many facets.

You are strong.  You are beautiful.  You are amazing…  and don’t ever forget it!

As I’ve said many times, and will say many times more:  I Believe in the Power of She!

 

Screw the criticizing eye of the masses

Screw the criticizing eye of the masses.

Screw the throng that claims big = bad.

Screw Vogue and Teen Vogue (do they still even publish T.V.?).

Screw the Hollywood version of beauty, stuffed down your throat till you gag.

Screw all those who would have you believe that size two is too large.

Screw all those who believe airbrushed is better.

Embrace your body, whatever it’s size.

Thin is not in.  I’ll embrace my 15 thank you very much, I can’t imagine a 5.

Your body is yours.

Celebrate it!

Love it!

In it’s imperfection can be found it’s perfection.

Stretch marks, lines, muffin top, mother’s apron, scars, all lines on a map well traveled.

Love yourself.  Love your body.

10, 15, 20 or more….  sizes, not scores.

This isn’t golf.  No birdies, no hole in one.

Just bodies, worth loving… whether the size is high or low.

Be healthy, be happy, embrace who you are.

tiny = happiness?

tiny = satisfaction?

tiny = joy?

tiny = fulfillment?

tiny = hunger.

tiny = appetites ignored.

tiny = sadness.

tiny = suppression.

Give me big, give me beautiful, give me curves, give me style.

Be happy, be satisfied.

Love your body, celebrate your size.

Embrace yourself, lumps bumps and all.

YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL!

…and, well, that’s all I’ve got to say about that.

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