CHOOSING TO CHALLENGE
Photography by Suzanne Phoenix
Text by Melanie Meggs
Today is International Women's Day.
International Women's Day is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity. Significant activity is witnessed worldwide as groups come together to celebrate women's achievements or rally for women's equality. It is a day that has occurred for well over a century with the first gathering held in 1911.
Every year since 2012 Australian photographer Suzanne Phoenix has curated an International Women's Day photography portrait series - What Does International Women's Day Mean to Me?
Lenz Ma, 2020 - Guitarist/vocalist in Spawn, Landscape Architect
With a collection of over 100 portraits featuring cis and trans women and non-binary people from many different corners of of her home city Melbourne, Suzanne has captured the inspiring, courageous, shy and outspoken. The impressive list includes many well-known artists, activists, authors, musicians, performers, photographers, comedians and fashion designers alongside boxers, human rights workers, massage therapists and those from all walks of life. There is also a Yarra Valley contingent where Suzanne lives. The series is a visual snapshot of the fierce, funny and extraordinary who inspires her world.
For Suzanne, this series quite simply gives her a place to respond to the inequality, discrimination, sexism, misogyny and gendered violence we experience every day in Australia.
LEFT: Ra Nikolaidis, 2019 - Make Up Artist, Artist, Dancer, Professional Weirdo; RIGHT: Jewel De Gelder, 2020 - bass guitarist in Spawn. Sadly, Jewel is currently fighting metastatic breast cancer. Donate to help Jewel here
"I put my energy into making positive images and increasing visibility through varied platforms for people to engage with these issues."
LEFT: Mary Mihelakos, 2019 - Melbourne Music Enthusiast, Music Victoria Hall of Fame; RIGHT: Kylie Auldist 2018 - singer
Photography gives her life a rhythm, it sets the pace and provides her opportunities to just pause. Suzanne has this certain kind of magic that she brings to us through her camera lens. The camera allows her to see things without judgment and stretches her boundaries. It’s a tool to explore herself in a creative way, to not be in control or analyse and to grow as a person.
Due to COVID restrictions, in this 10th year, it hasn’t been possible for Suzanne to create new portraits. However, she is celebrating with a self-publication of the portraits, the individual’s responses to the importance of IWD and documentation of the events and poster paste ups from the project.
Amy Taylor, 2019 - singer in Amyl and the Sniffers and Victorian Musician of The Year 2020
The self-publication will be available as a printed magazine or book, or a digital download through Suzanne's website and 10% of the profits will be donated to Djirra, an Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisation providing practical support to Aboriginal people who are currently experiencing family violence, or have in the past.
Thank you Suzanne for giving us this opportunity to share your important work about this very important day for all women.
LEFT: Phoebe Taylor, 2019 - part of punk band Bitch Diesel; RIGHT: Lexi Lovedack, 2018 - guitarist in Lazertits
LEFT: Erica Dunn, 2019 - musician in Tropical F**k Storm, MOD CON and Palm Springs; RIGHT: Keven 007, 2020 - musician in Glitoris
LEFT: Helen Marcou AM, 2018 - owner Bakehouse Studios and music advocate; RIGHT: Christina Aubry, 2020 - artist, artist manager, DJ
LEFT: Angela Savage, 2018 - Award-winning author, craftivist and CEO of Public Libraries; RIGHT: Alice Skye, 2019 - singer and songwriter - Wergaia/Wemba Wemba artist
LEFT: Amy-ann Broomhall (Bam-Bam), 2018 - a firebrand performer and community organiser, turned psychology major and dog mother; RIGHT: Andrew Glitoris, 2020 - musician in Glitoris Band
All photos © Suzanne Phoenix
Kristy Harris, 2019
World Championship bronze medallist boxer