Showing posts with label Photography. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Photography. Show all posts

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Beauty Surpasses Prejudice - Naomi Sims

Naomi Sims, youngest of the the three daughters, was born in Oxford Mississippi, USA in March 30th 1948.  She grew up in a single parent home after her father left at a very young age.  It is said, because of her unusual height,  Naomi did not have it easy growing up as she was constantly teased by other children.  Little did anyone know, that the features they thought were odd, was the very thing together with her constant determination, paved way for her amazing career in the world of beauty and fashion.

Before the Iman's, Alek Wek's, Tayra Banks and Naomi Campbell, there was Naomi Sims.  The first African American who paved the way for the rest of brown ladies in the world of fashion models.  I can just but imagine how difficult it was back in the 20th century to have a breakthrough in a mainstream Fashion Industry which was, back then predominantly a "white affair".
"When she decided to become a model, however, her early encounters with the agencies were not encouraging; all turned her down, some taking the trouble to explain that her skin was too dark.  Deciding to bypass the agencies altogether, she went directly to fashion photographers - a tactic that paid off when Gosta Peterson, a photographer for The New York Times, agreed to do a shoot for the cover of the newspaper's August fashion supplement"
With her determination, she achieved a world wide recognition.  Naomi's shots appeared on prestigious fashion magazines in the late 60's, one of them being "Life" magazine cover of October 1969. Kudos to her!

"As the designer Halston told The New York Times in 1974; Naomi was the first.  She was the great ambassador for all black people.  She broke down all the social barriers"

As much as I hate thinking that race could be a factor, the reality is, this case was an issue. Therefore it is our obligation to acknowledge and appreciate people like her and many other who went through mental, and in some cases physical war, to make a statement for themselves and others.  We appreciate them all a great deal! 
I choose to pay a  tribute to a great woman who made it to the top,  Naomi Sims.  She sadly passed away in Newark New Jersey, August 1st 2009 of breast cancer, she was 61, but she had achieved her dream.
 Read more

There goes young Naomi!!

Impressed only by her beauty, Peterson offered his help and her photos became part of the history!

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Africa Adorned!

Wow! How exotic!

When we are clothed in a certain way, we have high expectations.  That is to be accepted or treated in a manner that we desire and our clothing has the power to achieve that  before we  speak.   

So I re-visit my library for some inspiration. I love going back to history books that I have collected over the years and  search for a spark of ideas.  I found "Africa Adorned" by Angela Fisher.  It is such a useful book for  any artist to have in their library collection. Well it motivates me a lot.  Not only for inspiration but gives one a wealth of positive insight of what Africa is all about.  From Northern Africa all the way down to South.  It is fantastic!

The author wrote about her fascination with Africa during her first visit to Southern Africa in early 70's. Of course, she did not stop there but travelled to my country Tanzania- in East Africa- where she encountered the famous African tribe- the Maasai warriors. 
Her curiosity made her travel deeper into the heart of Africa all the way to up North; she claimed it was like stepping into a complete different planet. Mhh!   She encountered more diverse tribes, life styles and culture with distinguished and striking customs (in terms of) outstanding tribal costumes, remarkable hair forms, body paintings, and all sorts of decorations that she had never seen before.

"I began to discover that all these exotic fashion - in jewellery, body art, even clothing - were not merely adopted for beauty.  Each Item was of individual significance and proffered a wealth of information about the wear"

Yes! In general we are what we wear and  body language has become a media of expression in its own right.  We call it 'The Language of Clothes' as in a book by: Alison Lurie.

We often identify or send messages by what and how we wear; this is exactly what Angela Fisher encountered so evidently and powerfully may I say, in Africa. 

In my earlier post about Khanga, a native Swahili garment in Tanzania, I referred this as being the cloth that speaks a culture of silence. 

 The language of dress is an automatic one since history of mankind.  Before the so called 'Fashion' or civilisations, people were geographically identified through communication of their traditional costumes, hair styles, body adornment and  body painting.

I have selected other stunning,breathtaking and extremely stylish images from Africa taken by photographer Ken Hanmann and what have I got to say about these images.



Love, Security & Family

Sheer Elegance, Style & Pride

Youth, Beauty,& Pride

oozing with style & poise


Innocence & Purity


Pride & Identity

.........and then there is of course what we call the 'High End Fashion Adorned'! 
Christian Dior, Fall 1999, photos by Annie Leibovitz

Fashion throughout the decades has demonstrated to be an influential force in the establishment and expression of both cultural and personal identity.

Africa Adorned: Angela Fisher
Photos courtesy of :  Ken Hanmann