Military Women

Womans Month South-Africa (With Pictures and for the mature reader)
The world celebrates international Women’s Day every year on the 8th of March.  Most countries have their own Women’s Day and Women’s Month.  South Africa celebrates its Women’s Month in August and Women’s Day on the 9th of August every year.  I have delayed this post to the 15th of August, in order to give this event a second breath half way through Women’s Month.
In my view, Women’s Month was inspired due to the lack of attention it deserved worldwide and international newspapers and magazines that half-heartedly tried to show what it really is. 
I have put together a photo collection of women doing what they do best, showing that they can achieve more than the generational impression that we are led to believe.
Since the 1980’s I have been intrigued by the song “Sisters are doing it for themselves”, a song by Annie Lenox and Aretha Franklin.  The words let my imagination fly as I ask myself so many questions as to the reason behind this song.  Music is definitively one of the drivers behind my creative ideas.  I always listen to music, gaze at the LP album covers and the creative juices start flowing …. I role-play the music videos and photoshoots in my head as I listen to the music, finding suitable visions to complement the sounds and lyrics.
My final motivation for photographing these women was the 2008 documentary “Lioness” – an inspiring documentary about women in the Military on the front line.
If we search the origins of Women’s Day, we notice that women had to walk a very rocky path to get where they are today.  Women across the world suffered unfairness and hardships, and in some cases still do.  Who would have thought that gender could be a reason for segregation!  
Today, I present to you one of my many “Women’s Day” commissions celebrating women in a very broad spectrum of achievements specifically in the South-African National Defence Force (SANDF); doctors, dentists, pilots, veterinarians, combat medics, mountain rescue medics, submarine chefs, engine room engineers on ships, firefighters, bridge builders and so on.  As a photographer it is my job to relay a thousand words in one image, see if you can identify their occupations by looking at the photo’s. Some of these women in these photos achieved the highest possible recognition by the United Nations whilst serving in the DRC on peacekeeping, peace enforcement missions. 
The women showcased here represent the billions of women worldwide who have pulled their own weight, to get where they are today.
My take on the women that I have photographed in these photographs is that they were all humble and friendly, and their eagerness to share their traits definitively reflected their passion.  I could see this was their calling and where they wanted to be.  When talking to me about their equipment and careers, I could see in their faces that they were in the zone, that they were masters not only of their occupations and equipment, but also of their dreams.  I always like to photograph people, as they are, their authentic selves.  I have never (and never will) force anyone to be something or someone that he/she is not.  I leave them to be themselves, as this is where true beauty lies, being yourself and owning it.
The 1985 song “Sisters are doing it for themselves” by Annie Lenox and Aretha Franklin summarises the essence of Women’s Day well and the music video has quite a humorous way of showing it.  Feel free to watch this at your own leisure: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=drGx7JkFSp4.   This 36-year old song is still applicable now as it was back then in 1985. To the women of the world, this is how your sisters in South Africa are doing it for themselves. I hope you find inspiration and motivation in these images of women, this is my salute to you. By showing the age of some of the occupations I created a few of the images with my analog cameras, please enjoy.
As I do not wish to mix my themes of women on womens month with “love and war”, please check in before end August 2021 so I can introduce you to one more very special lady.  Of her own accord, she contacted a bridal magazine and made such an impression that they published her wedding in the magazine’s August 2021 issue.   She went all out, surpassing all trends, most importantly being herself, allowing me to photograph her the way I saw her, as an art piece. I believe photographs should be timeless and often ask myself the question, how long does something original hold its value?  In my eyes, the above-mentioned bride’s originality is everlasting and priceless. Look and see for yourself…
NOTE: I do not use social media to exploit people, hence one of my reasons for limiting this post.  For samples of my work, please view my website on www.impactofoto.co.za.
I do not give out any information about people in my posts or on my website.