Orange is the New Black

I’ve been watching Orange is the New Black on Netflix. It’s a Netflix original, meaning it was produced by Netflix itself rather than a network, a model I’m rather intrigued by. I’ve only got one a half more episodes to go, and I’m at the point where I’m watching a bit more slowly to make it last and waking up with the theme song in my head.

It’s about a young blonde woman who goes to prison for a crime she committee 10 years ago, apparently while under the influence of her then-girlfriend. But that’s not the interesting part. The interesting part is how many fascinating women are in prison with her, and we get to know many of them through flashbacks.

I may not be in the best position to say, not having cable, but I think these are the most complex women on tv at the moment. Which is great. But they’re also completely disempowered and marginalized – literally outside normal society. Men in the show are almost exclusively jerks who primarily view women as objects for their desire. Even the most sympathetic male characters show this predilection. The main character’s fiancé writes a column about his experience of her incarceration and, somewhat privately, she protests, “I’m not just a girlfriend.” One of the first things he says to her on his first visit is how nice her cheekbones look. Of course, she’s being starved out by the matriarch cook because she insulted her food.

All the time, however, we are reminded, implicitly through the flashbacks, and explicitly through Piper’s arguments, that inmates are people too.  And most of the time the circumstances for their crimes involve abuse, neglect, and/or poverty. It is heavy-handed and obvious at times, and there’s a whole lotta raunch. But, as this post pointed out, it’s telling stories that aren’t often, if at all, told in popular culture. I’m hoping for a second season.

new derby work!

When Critical Mass opened for entries this year, I realized that I had no new work to submit. The last shoot I did was last October, and the one before that was July 2012.

So I panicked and booked a bunch of shoots, with no real plan of how my family and I would actually manage it all with my full-time job. I did four of them in just over 24 hours. That was an exhausting day for us all, and we’re still recovering. I think this effort may match my total work produced in all of 2012. I’m done for at least a little while now.

I still don’t know if I’ll submit to Critical Mass, because I’m not sure it really makes sense to submit the same body of work (although different photos within it) three years in a row. I think a lot of the jurors judge year over year, and it seems a legitimate risk that they might be sick of the work. I don’t know. I’ve got a few more days to decide.

In the meantime, here are my best offerings from the shoots.

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Sofanda Beatin’

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Bitter Pill with Trixie, Ruth and Ursula

Teargas Tamara in her new Room of Her Own


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Miss Universe

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Krunch Bone Kitty, 10 days overdue, and James