Promoting intercultural understanding and diversity
STAND WITH ME
It is time for parents to teach young people early on that in diversity there is beauty and there is strength.
- Maya Angelou
In today’s society the increase in assimilation amongst my generation (Generation Y) and the generation before me has been prominent and powerful. Since the YES vote got passed in 2015 everyone is now content that Ireland has caught up and is all nice any shiny with a progressive nature which is true in most cases but most of us turn a blind eye when its issues that don’t affect us or people close to us personally. Like racism for example has always somewhat of an uncomfortable topic for some maybe because they don’t want to offend anyone or maybe they’re just nodding along avoiding voicing their private opinion? Whatever it comes to, racism is still alive and well, like bigotry and oppression specifically the oppression of women, which is the topic I chose to base my project on. Diversity.
The human rights issue I'm working on is intercultural understanding and diversity. More specifically focusing mainly on women that have different social positions and statuses including but not limited to race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, socio-economic class, immigration as well as academic, employment or professional status. I chose the issue because the subject of diversity but more important equality has made a direct impact on me last year when the marriage referendum passed, equal rights is non-negotiable for me especially with issues like race, gender, sexual orientation that should automatic. How I addressed the image was from my area of interest as a photographer which fashion photography. I wanted to make something without stereotypes, cultural appropriation or obvious cultural trigger prop, or background associations. I wanted the image to read “human” and not white, black, small, tall etc... the models I worked with were my friends, the shoot took two weeks to organise. The styling was all done by me I didn’t want the clothes to steal any focus from the girls so I pulled on monochrome clothes with muted and soft greys and it was all shot in an hour.
There are many campaigns touching on this topic of women’s rights today but Accenture.com are leading the way in my opinion with their big campaign on Women’s gender diversity and equality. On their site they our quoted saying their goal is:
More women in our workforce. More female role models in STEM. More benefits for parents. Gender Equality. Inclusion and equality are essential to high performance—because diversity is not just good for business, it's the right thing to do.
Their most recent campaign provided video advertisement campaigns that had a more personal touch to it. In my opinion in today’s digital age with social media as a huge tool it was a very smart way to get out their message instead of a poster which only grabs someone’s attention for a very minimal amount of time. Campaigns with a strong message like this positive or negative are always going to face bigotry and traditionalists it’s just the way of the world but If you have some worth saying that can affect change then it’s worth it.
Time management is vital for a shoot like this; making sure to give yourself enough time in case something goes wrong and to have a contingency plan. Looking back into my archive is always interesting to see how my style has progressed and comparing the ideas between projects, remembering feedbacks I got from lectures critiquing my photos which always disagreed with at the time but in the end realised what they were talking about. So I’m always learning new things about me as a photographer, I’m definitely still finding my style which will come with time but it will be interesting to see what I make until I realise what that actually is.
I want to especially thank my models, Eva Walsh, Gabrielle Yahaya, Tiffany Adusi, Aine May Hughes and Katerina Gaydova, for their friendship, support and encouragement.
O'Neill, M. (2017) , Available at: (Accessed:___).
I have been taking photographs since I was 10 years old when I bought my first Polaroid camera (still have it, still my favourite). I have channelled a lot of my creativity into fashion, especially since the age of 16. I now work with stylists and am building up a network, while developing my professional skills as a fashion photographer. Photography in the fashion industry is about so much more than the apparel and the description of the clothing, it’s very free and pushes genres to the limit, and I love it.