For articles, see F2 eZine Archive 8 - Oct - Dec 2001

Archive 8 - October - December 2001
WIPI News Article #1

Beauty & The Beast

MY JOURNEY TO AFGHANISTAN - 1977 by ŠJoanne Warfield
Beneath The Veil - 2001 a- A CNN Documentary

My journey to Afghanistan was in 1977, right before the coup and the Russian invasion. I was invited to go there to design a line of clothes and quickly grabbed the opportunity for adventure.

Kabul, where I spent most of my time, was a fascinating city with both the old and new world. The old city (old town) was where the public markets were, and it was like a journey back in time. Things were displayed and sold much as they had been for hundreds of years against the backdrop of the old earth and clay buildings and dirt streets. The merchants wore traditional clothing of loosely draped pants and shirts with the modern addition of a Western-style suit jacket! The market had a full offering of vegetables, grains, nuts, textiles, and tin--everything that was needed for daily living was there, in addition to tea houses and restaurants.

The new part of the city reflected the connection to the modern world with the likes of Mercedes cabs, small hotels, offices, a trattoria, and women in contemporary dress (even knee length skirts!). Many Afghans who had the means were educated in Europe and spoke many languages-including of course English-and were engaged in business throughout the world.

Everyone I met from all walks of life was open, generous and kind. Wonderful People.

IMAGES: All 1977 and in Kabul

Afghani Girls; I was watching a Kite flying competition and was standing on a car to get a better view. These beautiful little girls came to see what I was doing.

Spice Merchants; On one of my days in the Old Kabul market I found these wonderful spice merchant pals who were as jubilant as their spices and loved having their picture taken.



a Documentary Film by Saira Shah,

In contrast to Joanne Warfield’s 1977 photo documentation of the beauty of Afghanistan, prior to two decades of war is a recent film by Documentary Reporter Saira Shah, who risked her life and traveled into Afghanistan with a camera crew to document the torment and injustice of the Taliban rule. The documentary exposes the horrific beast that has eaten away the beauty of the people and the country.

“Beneath the Veil”, was shown on PBS in conjunction with CNN in September after the terrorist attack on the US. The 1 hour documentary is a chilling and soulful search for Shah’s roots as an Afghan women, whose family moved to England when she was a child. She was searching for the beautiful town her father spoke about, with gardens and fountains and instead found poverty, fear, destruction and war.

I lived with a French woman in Kabul who was married to an Afghan business man. This was the tailor that she knew and liked, who would be making the clothes I designed. We were invited to his house for lunch one afternoon and I had no idea what an incredible 'visual feast' was waiting for me: When the large gates to the compound opened there were five absolutely beautiful women there to greet us, dressed in their most exquisite clothes. I was dazzled. They were the tailor's family members, from sisters to cousins, and the tailor's wife and children. Since we were special guests they were dressed in their finest. The tailor was showing his skill and wealth by dressing the women and children in their (his) most elaborately decorated colorful garments.

I asked permission to take photographs, which was kindly granted. I knew at the time that this was a unique and special opportunity, since one did not see women dressed this way in the street. Little did I know at the time what a rare event this was.

These beautiful images are from a now-distant past.

It was not acceptable to take photographs of traditional women in public, which I respected and honored.

Joanne Warfield

Her documentation is a serious look into the affairs of the country and how the women are being mistreated. How RAWA, The Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan continue to hold on to hope for a better future, a return to the once beautiful country where women were educated and happy prior to the Taliban and the last two decade of war and destruction. How once beautiful villages were ravaged by the Taliban and families executed. Below are images with sub text from this revealing documentary. More information about the Documentary can be found on

CREDITS Beneath the Veil, Reporter: Saira Shah, Camera: James Miller,
Produced and Directed by Cassian Harrison, Archives: The Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan and Human Rights Watch, CNN, PBS

TV screen photos and documentation for WIPI website by Jean Ferro

Archive 8 - WIPI News Article #2

Lara Jo Regan

Story By: Helen K. Garber
Images Copyright: Lara Jo Reagan


Copyright Helen K. Garber

Lara Jo Regan is having an amazing year. After spending many years covering her niche, the American culture, she inadvertently created her own cultural phenomenon. Her imaginative photographic series taken of her alien-creature like dog, Mr. Winkle, caught on like wildfire with the American public and now the media covers Lara Jo.

Guest spots on Rosie O'Donnell, a four-book deal with Random House and reportedly a seven-figure deal with Mattel Toys have changed Lara Jo's life forever. "Everything is so familiar, but so completely upside down. The media comes to my house and they are directing me like I used to direct my subjects. It is nice to be creating something in the culture rather than just covering it."

Mr. Winkle is now a fully developed children's book character, complete with a voice delivering positive, affirming messages. Lara Jo is able to speak through him to deliver her perception of reality. Her goal is to try and re-enchant people with reality and the authentic world.

That same point of view earned Lara Jo the World Press Photographer of the Year Award with an image from her series entitled, The Uncounted. The project originated as an assignment from the now defunct Life Magazine.

The Uncounted was to document groups of Americans who go uncounted in the census. Officially, they do not exist in the records of America. "It was a way for me to explore the America that most people do not know exists. My work before this had a lot to do with de-mythologizing American Culture. Most Americans get their view of America via sitcoms, TV and movies rather than from America itself. It really bothers me that most people can name everyone on Friends, but they do not know who their neighbors are. I don't think that TV ever intended to disconnect people from reality in their community."

Lara Jo got the Life Magazine assignment by showing her self-generated project, American Street. She has been photographing her neighbors on her Los Angeles street inside and outside their homes. She is focused on documenting the subtle nuances of life. "If you hang out with people long enough, they drop their public face and there is a subtle beauty. Like trees and their leaves dropping on the ground in a pattern - like perfect imperfection."

Realizing her passion for photography by age 15, Lara Jo knew that she wanted to be a photographer by the time she went to The University of Colorado at Boulder.

Lara Jo was a shy but at the same time passionate young woman who felt deeply about many things. She realized that she could use the camera to translate her feelings. "A really good picture not only renders something, but shows how you were feeling when you were taking it by what choice of lens and what angle you choose." She majored in anthropology, but honed her photographic skills by shooting for the school's yearbook.

Lara Jo's first break was as an intern at the Boulder Daily Camera. She said it was a dream working for the small town paper. They allowed her to do what she wanted and guided her technically. She soon found her images on the cover of the paper.

"Most breaks come from self-generated projects - not waiting for an assignment." One project that Lara Jo volunteered for was to shoot a charity's brochure for free. She composed a photographic essay on homeless kids who lived in abandoned buildings in Los Angeles. The director gave her access to the kids and their weird underworld - the images eventually ended up as a spread for Vogue Magazine.

Now in her late twenties, her growing reputation led her to become the only photographer allowed backstage at The Oscars telecast four years in row. "It was an amazing opportunity, but very difficult because of the politics backstage. Guards were manhandling you. Although it was supposed to be a behind the scenes story, there was such an effort to control you it was made nearly impossible."

Lara Jo approached the prestigious assignment with her same philosophy - she wanted to de-mythologize the spectacle and show the celebrities as humans. She wanted to show anything outside the carefully scripted pageant. "It was vaguely humiliating covering Hollywood. We are worshipping these people who are stars who are celluloid gods. They are not the real astronaut or the real teacher or the real leader, but the people pretending to be them in TV and movies. And then they get these publicists to magnify their importance through talk show appearances.

When you cover these people you are in the way perpetuating the illusion... and even though I was shooting the Oscars from an anthropological point of view and a different perspective, it was still celebrating them in a way. I couldn't stand it anymore - my soul was sick doing this. "

That is when she started to do her street project, which led her to the Life Magazine project, which allowed her to win World Press Photo of the Year. "Much more universal and timeless kind of work."

And when questioned about advice for those considering a photographic career, Lara Jo said, "Photography is so expensive and so competitive that you really, really have to love it to stick with it. And hopefully make money at it. People who don't totally love it just drop out because it is so expensive and so competitive. You have to pay your dues over and over again it seems.

Not only film and processing, but portfolio, promos, the expenses never seem to end. Eventually I started working a lot and getting a little ahead of the game. Don't ever go into the profession for money because there really is not a lot of money and you have to work so hard.

You slowly build a reputation in the field - very slowly over the years. I always tried never to be trendy photographers who do that become yesterday's news. Stick to your own vision and your own style. Works out much better in the long run…much more staying power not being trendy."

Lara Jo is working eighteen-hour days to shoot all the needed images to complete the Mr. Winkle product line. She wants to release the reigns on that commercial but very lucrative project and use her well-earned financial freedom to continue to document today's real America.

Written by: Helen K. Garber

Archive 8 - WIPI News Article 3

A Labor of Love
By Judith Elaine Halek
Photographs ŠJudith Elaine Halek

Documenting births has been an obsession of mine since 1987, when I assisted the first homebirth, waterbirth, in New York City. Over the past fourteen years I have slipped in and out of one of the most intimate experiences known to life. I've had the privilege of documenting in three separate environments; homes, hospitals and birth centers. My specialty is underwater birth.

Waterbirth takes place when the baby is actually born from the womb of water inside the mother, to an extended womb of water, which could be a bathtub, a portable birthing pool, a jacuzzi, a water trough, or an ocean.

On my first contact with a couple, I give them a package of information and refer them to my website. After they have received the package and reviewed the site, we discuss what they like, what more they want and if whether there is a preference for a specific format, i.e., transparencies, and negatives, black/white, color.

Personally, I prefer to shoot with color negative because it offers more advanced emulsions. The additional color layers give better control in Photoshop. Black and white is the heart of photography, and from the purists point of view, film is superior to digital, yet, in the last three years technology has changed this. Today printing from a digital file with the special small gamut or monochrome black and white inks, creates a cutting edge print as acute as the traditional print from a darkroom.

The first thing to establish is the due date. One can be on call
approximately three weeks before the due date and two weeks after, unless it will be a home birth where the post dates could last up to four or five weeks. We discuss whether the couple wants me to be at their home before they go to the hospital or birth center.

It's imperative to have permission to photograph from the hospital or birth center. Put something in writing and submit it to the medical facility before hand. One doesn't want to become an intruder and sometimes medical personnel can be security conscious. When parents create their birth plan, photographic permission ought to be included as part of the labor/birth.

I work with the available light. Because of its invasive nature, I rarely use a strobe. I find available lighting creates a truer, softer,
journalistic reflection. I work with the fastest film for the camera:
Ilford and T-Max 400 and 800 for black and white and Fuji color (I find the skin tones are truer with Fuji). Sometimes I'll be creative and shoot 1600 and 3200 when I'm at a home where candles are the only light source. I then utilize a monopod.

I take anywhere between 5-8 rolls of film. I participate quietly in the labor and birth dance by making myself as inconspicuous as possible and shoot further away rather than close up. I work with the Canon EOS, SLR system; two cameras at a time with the Canon Elf as a third back up if we are transferring to the hospital or birth center. I use a EF 50mm f1:4 and EF 70-200 f1.2.8 lenses. I advise taking along a wide-angle lens such as a
21mm or 28mm for the confined areas.

When shooting, it1s important to focus on the details. Focus on becoming a Zen photographer and capture tender moments of father comforting mother, a gentle touch on a belly, a reflection in a mirror, a flower floating in water.

If you are fortunate enough to be invited into the OR in a hospital,
you'll wear their sterile gowns. Pay attention to where you can and cannot be, and don't touch anything! Take a small fanny pack for your film. In a birth center you can wear comfortable clothing to move around in, climb on top of tables, beds, chairs, or edges of the tub. A home birth environment is the most relaxed. Wear clean clothes, shoes that slip on and off easily, take time to use the bathroom, eat and hydrate yourself with something other than caffeine.

Labors and births can take from 25 minutes to 18-20 hours. Patience and vigilance are the keys. It's like covering a sporting event. You have no idea what's going to happen minute to minute. Conserve your energy by breathing in such a way as to stay in a calm, neutral state, both mentally and physically. Most importantly, enjoy... the miraculous experience.

Judith Halek is the director of Birth Balance, the east coast resource center for under water birth. Judith is now in the process of moving her 15 years of photography out to the public. She has been published in numerous birth journals such as Midwifery Today, The Journal of Perinatal Education an ASPO/LAMAZE Publication as well as New York Magazine. She will be debuting her first solo show at a prestigious birth center in New York City this winter.

Her website is
Her email is
Phone and Fax: 212-222-4349

*Judith Halek is among the photographers of WIPI's 20th Anniversary International Tea Time exhibit

Archive 8 - WIPI News Article #4

"Black and White photography from Down Under"
Written by Alison Holland

Excepts from feature article "Black and White photography from Down Under". Written by Alison Holland for Black and White Magazine for Collectors of Fine Photography. Buy the September 2001 issue to read the full story...

Geographic distance from Australia to Northern Hemisphere centers historically contributed in obscuring the view of a wealth of talented fine art photographers living ‘down under'.

As ever-changing technologies shrink the globe, these advances enable more Australian photographers to reach international markets through 'traditional' exhibitions, increased book publishing and online galleries.

Australian's however were never disadvantaged in their experimentation and use of early to modern photographic innovations. The pace of technical and stylistic development of photography always reflected that of Europe and the US. Influences were gleaned from the world's most noted photographers, however the distance also contributes to a unique perspective.

Given the country's climatic and geographic diversity coupled with a unique sociological and multi-cultural mix, Australian photographers found inspiration in a country that had white settlement beginnings in 1770, and indigenous roots reflecting back 60,000 years to one of the oldest civilizations in the world.

Sydney-born, Los Angeles based photographer Stephanie Flack began documenting the complex lives of an Aboriginal community living on Palm Island located off Australia's coast of Northern Queensland in 1999.

Photographing contemporary Australian Aborigines can pose as a sensitive task that touches on assorted social and historical complexities.

"The community was borne when white settlers in their quest to expand their land holdings, booted the Aborigines off their land and shipped them off to Palm Island. Over the years, authorities also removed "troublemakers" from their tribes on the mainland and relocated them to the island," says Stephanie.

The Palm Island Aborigines suffer many of the social problems that are inherent in indigenous communities throughout the world: a high rate of unemployment, drug & alcohol abuse and domestic violence. Stephanie sought these people as a challenge, to look beyond these issues and certainly not to sensationalize, exploit or betray Aborigines but to portray them with dignity and respect. Images from Palm Island include an intense portrait of an Aboriginal Elder's face, a battered couple who stand hugging and smiling outside their dilapidated house, and glistening playful boys jumping off a jetty highlighting their unaffected nature.

For Stephanie, photography is a passion that encompasses two key dimensions, a medium for expression and a matter of record to be experienced by others. She is drawn to cultures such as India, Tibet, Ghana and remote areas of Australia in order to capture both the unique and the universal.

"I want to create images that arouse awareness and evoke a response. I want to capture the ephemeral."

Passage of time is the subject of Deborah Mooney's photography. Nude portraits of her 94-year-old Grandmother photographed in her bedroom under natural light, highlight the beauty of human flesh in all ages. Deborah's series is titled 'Passage'.

Often likened to the work of Joel Peter Witkin, these images however are not freakish. The grandmother is a subject treated with adoration, love and respect. Glimpsing the women's wedding ring, we realize that her life has already been full. A capacity that continued when she agreed to reveal to us who she is at the close of her life.

Previously represented in the US by G Ray Hawkins Gallery, the Fototeka gallery in Los Angeles recently showed the entire installation in February 2001.

'Passage' exhibits as an installation of 24 photographs. Sitting atop the installation are two large protruding wings rising up over six 24 x 24 inch nude portraits of Deborah's Grandmother as she poses seated with no more than a simple feather as a prop. 16 supporting images of feathers, leaves, bird skulls and a butterfly set off the subject's frail aging form.

Defined sculptural shapes are revealed where the flesh drips off the body as it moves away from its skeleton. Deborah highlights the beauty of the aging skin by sepia toning her black and white prints after she had applied numerous scratch marks to the negative. Signifying cyclical life, the repeated, almost frenzied circular scratchings cocoon the Grandmother, acting as both a protective tomb and a frame that transports the woman back to the warmth of the womb.

"The installation is an altarpiece paying homage to my Grandmother. It bears witness to the passage of time. The organic processes, mortality of the body, and the transcendence of the soul. There is an element of ritual in the placement of the smaller fetish-like images surrounding her. The bird (feathers and wings) being symbolic of the release of the spirit from bondage to the earth. The butterfly is a symbol of the soul and of attraction to light. Blue in the center piece represents spirituality."

Alison Holland is a photography curator specializing in work by Australians, New Zealanders and selected international artists. Photographic art can be viewed online at or email

Archive 8 - WIPI Features From Abroad - Italy

Paola Poggio, Born and Raised in Turin Italy, Living in Germany
By Paola Poggio - Italy

(all images copyright Paola Poggio)

Born January 31, 1968 in Turin - Italy, I drawn myself to the photography after I had attended the Applied Art and Design Institute and the Courses of Classic Drawing and Photography at the Pictor's Art Studios in Turin. From 1989 to 1994 I was free-lance assistant in the main advertising photo studios of Turin. Afterwards I started to be a professional photographer, associated in a studio with other two photographers till 1997 and then independently till 2000.

Shoes Turin 1991

At the same time, during those years, I have been dedicating myself to personal research that prevalently resulted in manually elaborating images previously photographed by myself in different size (from classic 35mm camera to the monorail view camera). The manual techniques used more frequently are overlap, reversal process develop, mixed polaroid transfert with watercolor retouching, color mixed with B&W, photocopy and retouching. The purpose of these elaborations would be to have an emotional interpretation of a reality that transcends the significance of the individual images. These material experiences, having molded the contents of the work, have been utilized for some commercial projects but, first of all, have resulted in the following contemporary artistic projects.

Landscape Memories,
is a very personal work where I revisited and assembled, by means of the manual overlapping technique, a collection of images concerning to my past (places, people and emotions). This project arose from a purely personal need and only later, 1994 was exhibited at Photo Salon during the International Biennale of Photography of Turin in Acquasparta, Umbria- Italy. At present part of the project is exhibited in the ongoing exhibition at HOBO gallery in Turin.

Mostar East Mostar 1996

Cultures and Sounds,
This work is the fruit of years of concert going in which I was at the front of the stage and behind the scenes and comes from a love and curiosity of music originating from various cultures. The camera allowed me to live the experience with more passion and to carry the music, making me a special spectator. I followed the artists for years. The intention was to blend together the artist's expression with the rhythm of his/her musical work into a single image.

Philip Glass Turin 1990

The images have been photographed with a Nikon 35 mm camera using b/w film. The photos have been saved/scanned on a PC and elaborated using Photoshop Some of this images, printed on fiber based paper made of brushed aluminum, are conceived coupled with the relevant sound. The prints with music are accompanied by a musical piece belonging to the specific musician (see below the list of artists), acting as a type of background for the image. The audio storage system is a type of "solid state" that thanks to its reduced dimensions has been positioned on the back of the frame with only a minimal added thickness of 1.5 cm. Each piece of music (which lasts approximately 20 seconds) is turned on by a photocell that is sensitive to the presence of the viewer.

Cotton Threads Turin 1994


Nana Vasconcelos Turin 1997

Bosnia 96, images taken in 1996 at the end of the conflict in Ex-Yugoslavia. This work is the documentation of the itinerary that I have token through the Bosnia territories and cities with the ONG voluntary organization Beati i Costruttori di Pace, on the occasion of the first free elections after the war. The pictures had been reinterpreted via the manual overlap techniques according to the instinctive sensations that this experience had left in myself, in portraits that condense the essence of a war, its destroying violence marked in the walls, the hope of the life that starts again with the youth. (for the newspaper La Repubblica Olga Gambari, May 2001). The project was exhibited at a charity for the C.O.I. Association (International Cooperative of Dentistry) in Miland. On the occasion of the Italian culture Week in Banja Luka a time of Italian artistic expression in the Srpska of Bosnia Repubblic's capital, this project has been exhibited as opening event in Turin at the Amantes Gallery (A.R.C.I. association from 27th April to 12th May 2001.

Sarajevo Library Sarajevo 1996

Since the end of 2000 I am living in Munich, Germany where I have decided to interrupt my work of commercial photographer and to devote myself completely to the artistic pursuit in order to make it my first profession.

Tea Time project,
Analyzing from the phonetic point of view the sound of the word Tea I have begun to play with that creating some sound and visual double meaning. I did not apply those photography techniques of elaboration as used till now, but I simply photographed with my principal tool of work in the last ten years, a monorail view camera of 4x5 inchs. I have intentionally created images in order to give vigor and contrast to a theme so much poetic and romantic, where the game of similar sounds in words with a different meaning leads to an ironic interpretation.

Tea Three Munich 2001

Paola Poggio




For articles, see F2 eZine Archive 8 - Oct - Dec 2001