bhamadey bhamadey

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Brigitte  photographer/lawyer/mermaid/NYC

Friday feels. Last year. Paris.

In honor of #Bmusemonday and France not fucking up yesterday in elections. #35mm from my last trip to Paris in March 2016 with some mega babes.

Mayday (morning after)


Creeping around old Kentucky hotel > creepy fluorescent lit basement > self-portrait session. Last month in Louisville.

Case in point: green carpet đź’šâś…

Some of the kick ass Kosovar women I interviewed doubled as muses for a fashion editorial I photographed featuring the designs of @krenarerugova. The fabric in this shot was hand-loomed by Cyme.
The Grand Hotel Pristina is a (privately owned) preserved socialist landmark from days of the Former Yugoslavia. The hotel served as a hub for soldiers and journalists during the 1998-1999 war in Kosovo. It's rumored that individuals were tortured in its basement. There are also rumors that the hotel is haunted. The only thing I know for certain is that its vibrant green carpet and blue velvet furniture make incredible props.

Erzë is a fashion blogger based in Pristina, Kosovo. She was born in 1998, the year Kosovo’s war began. She and her family fled to Macedonia when she was four months old. She celebrated her first birthday in London. Two years ago, Erzë started her blog Hints of Indigo where she posts almost weekly. Erzë is 18 years old.
Hints of Indigo (largely) focuses on styling the same items of clothing in different ways and utilizing wardrobe pieces that Erzë has owned for years. Erzë doesn’t work. And there are limited shopping options in Kosovo. Promoting resourcefulness is partly strategic for this young, freckled Kosovar. But it’s also purposefully stylistic. She told me about vintage clothing items of her mother’s that are a huge source of inspiration for her.
During our conversations, we talked about Erzë’s favorite designer (Valentino) and about Lady Mary’s delectable wardrobe in Downtown Abbey’s last season. She told me she rarely wears dresses except for on special occasions. She told me that blogging is still a growing industry in Kosovo because “as a country we are still developing. Our steps are smaller than in other parts of the world, like the EU and US.” Erzë doesn’t know where her blogging aspirations will lead. She thinks she might want to become an architect eventually. But she knows for certain that she wants to contribute to the place where she grew up—Kosovo. “The population here has a lot of young people. If we think about it we can do great stuff. Stuff that we love. Through artists, musicians, and bloggers, the word can spread that Kosovo is a small country but has much potential.”
(For the time being this is my last portrait in my installment of Kosovar women. Thanks for following along, your feedback and comments!) #35mm #girlgaze #bmusemonday

The unemployment rate for women in Kosovo is 56.9%, which is roughly 15-20% higher than that of men in Kosovo. Due to lack of opportunities and disparity in education, only 35% of Kosovar women actively participate in the workforce (this low percentage is not through lack of trying in my observational experience). Shegë is a Project Manager for Women in Online Work (WOW), an initiative funded by USAID (and previously supported by the World Bank) that seeks to change these grim figures. Since 2016, WOW has been training women in Kosovo to compete in the global online work market. More than 1500 women applied for 110 WOW spots in two cities. Having experienced the frustration of unemployment first-hand, Shegë is progressively tackling these issues. She told me about how bleak the situation can be, especially in rural Kosovo where some young women don’t have email addresses.
Shegë previously worked on a similar project called Girls in Information and Communication Technology (Girls in ICT) to educate women and girls about opportunities in that field. She studied economics at university and has worked in communications for three years. (On a personal note, Shegë makes an excellent muse and has been the subject of numerous photoshoots I did in Kosovo.) Shegë's name means "pomegranate" in Albanian. She is 26 years old.

Vjosa is co-founder of the Pristina International Film Festival (PriFest). Before the war she worked with Oxfam. After the war she worked with UNICEF and then pursued a masters degree in London. Like many of the women I interviewed, she was compelled to return to Kosovo to partake in its growth and development. In 2002 she started her own PR agency, which was responsible for Kosovo’s Declaration of Independence campaign and events in February 2008 and printing of Kosovo’s first flags. Shortly after Kosovo’s independence, Vjosa started PriFest not only to promote films but also to educate Kosovo’s young generation. (PriFest hosts debates on topics such as documenting war crimes and LGBTQ rights. PriFest regularly collaborates with LA-based Outfest.) British actress Vanessa Redgrave was a special guest at PriFest’s debut in September 2009, 10 years after she organized a dance, music, and theater festival in Kosovo in 1999 called “The Return” to celebrate the return of refugees. Redgrave is honorary President of the PriFest Board.
The festival has not been sans challenges. In 2015 Kosovo’s new Minister of Culture drastically cut the festival’s funding. With Vjosa’s creative PR thinking, PriFest sought external funding and discovered a strong support network for her vision. PriFest has since become a landmark event and assists to connect Balkan directors and screen writers with international producers and distributors (this helps Kosovo’s film artists overcome the challenges of not being able to travel freely in Europe). PriFest’s 9th Edition will take place this July 2017. Currently Vjosa is producing her first feature length film. (Pictured here in her office wearing @krenarerugova)

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