Kate Zambreno’s novel Green Girl — a finalist in the Morning News’s 2012 Tournament of Books — has been almost universally praised in thinky literary circles. It’s the story of Ruth, a somewhat infuriating American girl drifting through London, selling perfume, getting drunk, having sex, being beautiful, obsessing over fashion, and struggling to carve out her identity. Ruth is a challenging character and a controversial one — Zambreno calls her an antiheroine, a “hot mess” — but that search for identity is infinitely relatable. And does a girl really have to be palatable? Nice? Of course not. She also writes a fantastic blog about life, literature, and overlooked female contributions to same called Frances Farmer is My Sister.
Mac McClelland is an intrepid human rights reporter for Mother Jones magazine and the author of For Us Surrender Is Out of the Question, a book about the time she spent living with refugee activists on the Burma-Thailand border. Whether she’s going undercover as an online-shipping warehouse worker in Mississippi, winning numerous awards for her coverage of the BP oil spill (including the 2010 Sidney Award and 1st place in Outstanding Beat Reporting from the Society for Environmental Journalists in 2011), or writing frankly about how violent sex helped ease the PTSD she experienced after working in post-earthquake Haiti, Mac’s badass attitude mixed with her old-school reporting skills always makes for reading that is as provocative as it is enlightening.
As News Director and on air personality at New York City’s top hip-hop and R&B radio station Hot 97, Miss Info is the widely revered town crier of the hip-hop community. Born Minya Oh, the daughter of Korean immigrants, she’s used her wit and Ivy League education to lend a credibility and depth to her brand of celebrity gossip. Honing her craft as an editor at the biggest magazines in the industry — The Source, Vibe, XXL, and Rolling Stone — Oh went on to be work at MTV News and VH1, and wrote a hip-hop fashion book (Bling Bling: Hip Hop’s Crown Jewels) before starting her critically acclaimed hip hop blog, MissInfo.tv. Frank and fearless, she’s been outspoken about the portrayal of Asian Americans in media.
Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, I See a Darkness
(I See a Darkness, 1999)
"Well I hope that someday, buddy, we have peace in our lives, together or apart, alone or with our wives, that we can stop our whoring, and pull the smiles inside, and light it up forever, and never go to sleep. My best unbeaten brother, this isn’t all I see."
Nikola Tamindzic, Merzbow
"Like many child stars, Bieber must invoke romance but avoid sensuality, which makes him the exact inverse of Masami Akita, who has used explicit sexual imagery since the start of his career. But the two are linked by a faith in their respective machines: Akita believes that his circuits and software will, with some urging, bring something out of themselves that reflects the human better than the human can. Bieber, like many pop listeners, is equally comfortable entrusting his career and his public person to a squad of professionals. Both reflect a diminishment of the self and an ability to accept a lesser agency in the face of what works. (What would Bieber’s songs sound like without Auto-Tune?) What works for Masami Akita is amplification, and the many outcomes when amplification is doubled and trebled. What works for Bieber is tracking and then carefully pitching to every living demographic, insofar as the data allows."
On Thursday I shot a group of twenty-five absolutely extraordinary women in honor of 5th anniversary of Jezebel.com — among them Sandra Fluke, Julie Klausner, Mac McClelland, Jennifer Baumgardner, Kate Zambreno, Sheila Heti, Ai-Jen Poo, Jamala Johns, Minya Oh, Jean Grae, Nikki & Mayaan (The Lake & Stars), Peta Lindsay, Julie Zeilinger, Amanda Kludt, Winnifred Bonjean-Alpart, and others.
The portraits will be running on Jezebel and elsewhere unretouched, because, you know, fuck retouching portraits. You can find out more about all of these amazing ladies on Jezebel, and see these portraits in hi-res on my portfolio site.