Gisela Volá by bus

Photo: Gisela Volá

In an interview for P360P, Gisela Volá talks about the call for ?E-CO/22? D[E-CO]NSTRUIR LA MIRADA, Narrativas Visuales Contemporáneas en Clave de Género (D[E-CO]NSTRUIR LA MIRADA, Contemporary Visual Narratives in Gender Key) in its IV edition that she herself presides, about her collective work, the importance of gender photography and the presence of women photojournalists in Latin America. 

Gisela Volá is a member of Vistprojects, a platform for Latin American visual narratives created by Claudi Carreras and from where the meeting "E-CO/22" takes place.

Co-founder of SUB colectivo and later a photography cooperative founded in 2001, in the then Argentina recently affected by the economic and political crisis of Fernando de la Rúa, she specializes in two twists of photojournalism, in collective work and in gender photography. She affirms that working in this way opens up the possibility of approaching everyday issues from an identity beyond binary forms.

For more than twenty years he has been dedicated to exhibiting his documentary photographic work, a work that is reflected in the projects of photography, cultural management, radio and education that he organizes and directs. 

He considers that photojournalism is in a moment of many questions, both in the ways of doing photojournalism and in the ways of how photojournalism is seen in different formats. 

Convinced that women have begun to stop being afraid, Gisela Volá affirms that photojournalists in particular have begun to reflect on the limits imposed on their work, losing their fear of saying "this is unfair".

E-CO/22 ?D[E-CO]NSTRUIR LA MIRADA, Contemporary Visual Narratives in the Key of Gender?
Photo by: Gisela Volá

Cabalgata nocturna", "Deseos", "15", "Gilda la milagrosa", "Extraño paraíso" and "Ariel" are the projects exhibited in his personal page and whose themes that unite them are sexual identity, youth, life desires and the customs that define human beings in society from their sexuality.

However, part of his strongest work has been done in Cooperativa de Fotógrafos SUB, consolidated in 2004, whose photo-documentary work is mainly developed collectively, collaborating in international media such as The New York Times (USA), Le Monde, Le Monde Magazine, Le Monde Diplomatique, Le Figaro (France), Petra magazine, Der Spiegel, Die Zeit (Germany); Interviú magazine, Igandea (Spain); Gatopardo magazine (Mexico); El Nuevo Día newspaper (Puerto Rico) among others. In addition, SUB has won several awards such as the POYi (Picture of the Year Latin America) Contest Award in the Middle Class category for "A puertas cerradas" in 2013 and the POYi (Picture of the Year Latin America) Contest Award in the categories "Portrait of daily life" in 2011 among many others. 2018. SUB is currently part of the collection of FoLa (Fototeca Latinamoericana).

Gisela: I was very struck by the story of Gilda la Milagrosa, which tells the story of a teacher who one day went to a cumbia contest and became a cumbia singer who was very relevant in Argentina, Bolivia and Peru and later became a popular Santa. She was a woman who broke many roles within the cumbia environment, which is also a very macho context, very disputed with men and where women are objectified by body stereotypes. Gilda was a woman who broke with that because she did not correspond to the stereotypes of the time. However, she had incredible, profound lyrics. Having been a kindergarten teacher, she came from a different environment.

C: Why is it important to address gender issues through documentary photography? 

Gisela: Well, identity is something very important because that is how we communicate and relate to others.

The construction of identity has to do with certain binary norms of masculine and feminine that in some way condition the way we inhabit society, the way we inhabit our contexts. 

I think it is very important to work on this type of topics in a call because it leads us to think about these changes in the times we are living in, where in the last few years the most important thing that has happened is to problematize life. 

In my opinion, the feminist movements of recent years have done just that, problematize everyday life, the way we relate to each other, problematize the inequalities of domestic life, maternity, family, work spaces and the decision on how we perceive ourselves according to our sex, gender and all the possibilities that arise when one wonders why things are this way or are based on these structures.

C: About women photojournalists

Gisela: I think that what we photojournalists are starting to do is to stop being a little afraid and that fear has led us to start talking and reflecting on our labor and binding practices in the media and that has undoubtedly led us to realize that there is too much tolerance in certain areas, such as realizing that our salaries are lower, even that we are sent to do work that does not have as much impact as it should just because we are women or not having the benefits or not having the same rights as a man in the workplace as the media, the press, the editorial space. 

We have begun to realize that our places always had to do with a very passive place in terms of the male gaze, always occupying administrative places, not at the front lines, especially in photojournalism. I believe that women are strong, talented and that we have generated a lot. I would even go so far as to say that we have developed more profound things by the fact that we have to make ourselves worth twice as much to prove that we can do the same as men.

C: Where is photojournalism headed? 

Gisela: I think it is in a moment of many questions. The latest contests such as the World Press Photo show it as well as the need for openness not only in how we look at the photographs but also in the themes and how we get involved with the themes. That gives me a lot of hope, it gives me an expectation in terms of more open formats to break the rigid forms that previously existed within the genre of photojournalism. I think it's great that the rules that have existed for thirty or twenty years are starting to move.

About the call

The open call directed by Gisela Volá "E-CO/22" has a registration period from March 20 to April 20 at 23.59 hrs Mexico City time, seeks to support the development of projects by collectives or collaborative groups based in Latin America that address issues with a gender perspective. 

The Encounter of Ibero-American Collectives in its fourth edition. D[E-CO]NSTRUIR LA MIRADA, Narrativas Visuales Contemporáneas en Clave de Género" offers its winners:

? A Production Grant of ?5000 for the realization of each of the 8 projects selected in the Open Call.

? An Open Training space through Instagram Live and Youtube chats.

? A space for specific training for the 8 groups or collaborative work groups, consisting of virtual meetings with Latin American references.

? The exhibition and dissemination of the works produced in E-CO/22 from the platforms of Vist Projects and AECID.

The selection committee includes three Latin American researchers, curators and photographers specialized in editing, political and collective photography and curatorship: Andrea Jösch from Chile, Maíra Gamarra from Brazil and Julieta Escardó from Argentina.

Click here to read the complete call for proposals here.

Click here for the registration form here.

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