Posts tagged with "National Geographic"

Remarkable photos show ‘natural beauty’ of the elderly in the great outdoors

June 22, 2020

Since 2011, Riitta Ikonen and Karoline Hjorth have photographed retired farmers, fishermen, zoologists, plumbers, and opera singers in natural habitats around the world for an ongoing project and book series called Eyes As Big as Plates, the BBC reports.

Some of these pictures look like anthropological portraits from antique issues of National Geographic: statuesque figures in remote landscapes, wearing costumes of seashells or palm leaves. Others, the news outlet notes, “have the feel of delirious outdoor fashion shoots, where the stylist has gone wild with natural props such as moss and rubicund fronds of rhubarb (fleece jacket and sensible shoes are model’s own).

In one image, photographed in northern England on a soggy spring day, it takes you a while to see the person at all: She is camouflaged as a clump of bracken on the side of a moor.

And they all not only show the wonder of natural life—but inspire us to wonder about their origins. Why is that older-looking man lying in a rock

Above, Eyes as Big As Plates/# Bengt II/orway 2011. (Photo source: Karoline Hjorth and Riitta Ikonen)

pool in Greenland, swaddled in chunks of ice like he’s just emerged from the frozen deep? Or what about the close-up of an elderly woman in a woven headdress set against a wintry-looking sky?

It is part of the project’s concept that you can supply as many answers as you feel you need, Ikonen explains to the BBC during a video call. (Originally Finnish, these days she lives on the Rockaway Peninsula, just outside New York; Hjorth, who is Norwegian, joins the call from her own home outside Oslo).

“In the beginning we were trying to illustrate certain phenomena – folklore, stories, figures from myth,” she recalls. “More recently, we dropped that.”

Hjorth is nodding: “We just try to work with whatever the people we interview bring, wherever they are.” Perhaps some mysteries are better left unsolved.

The title ‘Eyes as Big as Plates’ is undeniably a tribute to Norwegian folklore. It references a story about a large-eyed dog (or possibly a troll) who lives beneath a bridge; the kind of curious, slightly spooky gaze the artists aim to emulate.

The project began as Ikonen’s idea: she’d long been intrigued by Nordic mythology, and nine years ago hit upon the idea of creating a new body of work paying tribute to it. Searching for a collaborator, she came across Hjorth’s photographs – specifically portraits Hjorth had done of Norwegian grandmothers.

Ikonen got in touch, and the two began to plan a new series focusing on older people, reimagining them as powerful figures from lore and legend.

Their photography collection has become a touring exhibition that has travelled to museums in many countries, not just in Scandinavia but far beyond—Bogota, Leeds, New York,  and Rome— and then, in 2017, a book (which is now sold out).

Research contact: @BBCNews

‘Fitting in is overrated,’ if you want to succeed, say Oprah Winfrey and Melinda Gates

December 16, 2019

A lot of career advice boils down to various ways to fit in with whatever professional group you aspire to join. That’s why mentors will suggest that you “dress for the job you want, not the job you have,” when you go out to network, and that you police your tone to sound more “competent,” Inc. magazine reports.

But at least two incredibly successful women have exactly the opposite take, says the news outlet for entrepreneurs. Sure, being mindful of others and the norms of your industry is always a good idea. But, according to these two titans, the real secret to career advancement (especially for women) isn’t fitting in. It’s being more truly yourself.  

The latest superstar to offer this take is Melinda Gates, who joined an incredible roster of flourishing females  in sharing their memories and insights for National Geographic‘s new special issue focusing on the lives of women around the world. The issue was produced exclusively by women writers and photographers.

When the magazine asked Gates for her number-one piece of advice for young women, she was blunt in her recommendation.

“Fitting in is overrated,” she replied. “I spent my first few years at my first job out of college doing everything I could to make myself more like the people around me. It didn’t bring out the best in me—and it didn’t position me to bring out the best in others. The best advice I have to offer is: Seek out people and environments that empower you to be nothing but yourself.”

While superficial changes like trading in your hoodie for a suit might make sense,., Gates insists that when it comes to your fundamental character and values, letting your inner light shine beats adapting to your surroundings every time, Inc. reports. She’s far from alone in thinking that.

No less than TV superstar Oprah Winfrey backs her up. As the talk show mogul explained in a recent Hollywood Reporter interview, her stint at storied news program 60 Minutes ended abruptly when she realized the show didn’t line up with her true self.

“It was not the best format for me,” she explained. “I think I did seven takes on just my name because [my way of speaking] was ‘too emotional.’ I go, ‘Is the too much emotion in the ‘Oprah’ part or the ‘Winfrey’ part?’ … They would say, ‘All right, you need to flatten out your voice, there’s too much emotion in your voice.’ So I was working on pulling myself down and flattening out my personality—which, for me, is actually not such a good thing.”

Oprah, who is certainly not short of other opportunities, up and quit to search for projects that lined up more closely with her personality and approach, Inc. notes. That sort of abrupt departure probably isn’t possible for most of us, but we can still put the central point made by both super-achievers to work.

Indeed, according to Inc., research out of both Columbia and Deloitte shows that “covering” your true identity at work (whether that’s your sexual orientation, your introverted nature, or your emotional soul) has a negative impact on your professional performance and psychological well-being. When fitting in comes at the cost of authenticity, the research is clear: It’s not worth it.

Research contact: @Inc