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PNC Bank and “Women of Vision”

By Dian Vujovich

I was fortunate enough to attend a media sneak peek of the “Women of Vision: National Geographic Photographers on Assignment” exhibition at the Palm Beach Photographic Centre, today, Jan. 20. If at all possible, make it a point to find the time to visit this exhibition that showcases the extraordinary work of 11 award-winning female photographers. It is positively worth seeing.

The PNC Financial Services Group’s (PNC) decision to team up with National Geographic and sponsor this traveling exhibition was a brilliant move in more ways than one. Most obvious, it was smart from a banking and business perspective.

About 15 years ago, PNC noticed a trend in the growth and number of women opening businesses, and, that women looked at business differently than men. Plus, in addition to being very capable and serious business owners, their business needs were unique..

“(For women in business) It’s all about communication and relationships, “ said Cressman Bronson, a PNC-Certified Women’s Business Advocate and Regional President Florida East.

But more importantly, highlighting the talents of female photographers on assignment for National Geographic brought to light a perspective that only a female eye behind the lens of a camera can bring. Hence, the very apt title, “Women of Vision”.

A quick aside: If you think most of National Geographic’s photographers are men, you’d be right. When this project first began a few years ago, less than 20 percent of photographers working for National Geographic were females thus making the work of these 11 female photographers all the more important, valuable and rare.

Lynsey Addario is one of the photographers whose work is in the exhibit. For the past 14 years her work has focused on women’s and human rights issues in countries including Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, and in Darfur.

Working under Taliban rule, since the beginning of this century she has seen some progress for women and women’s rights in larger cities like Kabul, Afghanistan. “More women are graduating and even moving into Parliament, “ says this MacArthur Fellow and Pulitzer Prize winner.

Even with the progress, Addario still had to get permission from a woman’s father or husband before she could photograph her.

If there is one common link that you’ll likely feel–and see— after viewing the hugely varied situations and environments depicted in the approximately 100 photos in this exhibit, it is that women continue to face a variety of issues no matter where on Earth they reside.

The “Women of Vision” exhibit is free and runs from January 22 through March 22. For more information contact the Palm Beach Photographic Centre at 561-253-2600, or at http://www.workshop.org.

The photograph included here is one of Lynsey Addario’s. I took it at the “Women of Vision” exhibit and is a pretty bad representation of Addario’s photo taken in Kabul. Please visit the Women of Vision website to see this photo along with those of all 11 female photographers included in the exhibit at: http://wovexhibition.org.

BTW, Addario has a book coming out in February titled “It’s What I Do”. Given the content and region of the world her work relates to, I wouldn’t be surprised to see her interviewed by Jon Stewart on The Daily Show in the not so distant future.

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