— Updated —
In part as my celebration of the 25th anniversary of Namibia's independence, and in celebration of living in Namibia for 15 years myself, I've embarked on a portrait project of Namibian Women.
I am trying to show Namibian Women as empowered, strong, resourceful people. The project is not about conforming to any perceived standards of beauty or perfection, so much as showing the pride and dignity that comes from what Namibian Women achieve every day. I intend to explore the contrast between expectation and reality, to challenge viewers with a traditionally andro-centric viewpoint to examine their preconceptions about what it is that Women have to be proud of, and to examine the gender-role constructs that predicate judgement.
I am not confining this project to any social class or ethnic background. The more diverse, the better, since I am trying to represent as many facets as possible.
Ultimately the aim is to have these photographs in an exhibition, as well as assembling them into a book.
This project is growing and evolving. In a way I see myself only as a messenger, so I welcome input and feedback with respect to the direction and the message of this project. Initially the portraits will be taken at my studio. Much further down the line I'll be in a position to travel. But for now: Windhoek.
On a technical note: I will be shooting these portraits on large format film, generally with a Schneider Symmar 1:5.6/210 on a Linhof Technika 13x18. I will use either Spürsinn G50 type 2 or Fomapan 100 film, and I will process these in a Rodinal-type developer at a concentration of 1+50. In part this is because I love the medium, but also large format film lends the images a certain feel not easily achieved with modern equipment.