04 Jan 2019
We teamed up with Cardiff's Girls Against, gave them a disposable camera and asked them so snap away at the favourite parts of their home city.
In an age when digital content comes streaming at you from every conceivable angle, there's something to be said about a good, old-fashioned, matte-finished snap from the local Boots. A photograph you can hold in your hand - a slip of resin-coated paper topped with light-sensitive emulsion that makes you think "yep, I was definitely there".
Because in the era of fake news, how can you trust information that exists purely in the digital realm? Did I really take that picture? Did I even go on a gap year? Once that henna tattoo has faded there won't be a shred of tangible evidence. Real photos, real experiences, stuff that we can truly cling onto - that's what it's all about.
Anyway, here are the digital scans from our latest disposable camera, courtesy of Girls Against:
Girls Against, an organisation campaigning to eliminate sexual harassment at live music venues, are backed by a number of high-profile artists and industry figures including Peace, Wolf Alice, Slaves, Declan McKenna, Best Coast, and SWMRS, and work alongside promoters and festival organisers work on and raise awareness for this important issue.
"I visited Sŵn Festival as a representative for Girls Against, and it was a perfect place for me to check out loads of venues across the city and to talk to a load of people that are involved in the Cardiff music scene."
Girls Against are big fans of Yassassin! We recently released a vinyl record in collaboration with Blood Records which featured one of their tracks (as well as Dream Wife who also played the festival) so it was great to see their set at Kongs . I had a chat with Yassassin before the gig and asked them a couple of questions about the issue of sexual harassment at gigs.
Their message to the victims of sexual harassment is; “ You should never feel too alone or scared to call out these awful acts- report them, seek support and don’t let it hold you back from doing things and going to places you love.”
I asked the lovely staff at Spillers Records, the oldest record shop in the world, if they’d be happy to display some of our Girls Against flyers. They were so enthusiastic to hear about the campaign.
Part of my work as a representative for Girls Against is handing out these flyers and putting up posters in venues and record shop windows. We want to spread the message to as many people as possible that sexual harassment at gigs is not okay and it’s okay to speak up about it.
On Saturday night I caught Dream Wife at Kongs. As they often do they finished with “Somebody” and got the packed-out crowd to chant “I am not my body I am somebody!”. This song is pretty much the theme tune for what Girls Against stand for, so it was so great to catch it live at such an intimate gig!
When asking the lead singer, Rakel, before the gig what responsibility she feels bands have in combating sexual harassment at live music events she said; “It’s about everyone being aware that you promote a safe space and people generally have respected and wanted to participate in that at our shows”.
This idea was put into practice at Kongs with their “bad bitches to the front” call during FUU – a moment to acknowledge the women in the room and to a chance for female identifying individuals to reclaim the rock space.
I went to my favourite bar in Cardiff, The Blue Honey Night Café, for a rest and a pint. I managed to get some interviews written up and I planned the rest of my day at the festival. The music here is always amazing, and their loaded fries are even better!
Here’s a member of security from The Moon holding one of our flyers! Liz, co-owner of The Moon is so invested in ensuring that the venue is safe for everyone. The venue had posters up already to give advice to victims of sexual harassment as well as bystanders- they have even had a Safe Gigs For Women (another fantastic campaign tackling sexual harassment at gigs) training day held at the venue. It was great to chat to Liz, to get an insight into security at The Moon – other venues should definitely be taking note!
I spoke with Elan Evans, who works for the legendary Clwb Ifor Bach, and is a festival assistant at Swn. She was excited to hear about Girls Against and was keen to get Clwb involved. We arranged to send some posters sent to the venue as well as a meeting to discuss what can be done to improve the safety of venues.
The grilled cheese. That is all.
Next, I caught-up with Amy, a Cardiff-based photographer you’ll find armed with a camera at most gigs around the city. Amy spoke about her experiences as a female gig photographer; “I’ve been very lucky in that I have never had any experiences with sexual assault but on another note, it’s an uncomfortable feeling being the only female photographer in the pit.
I feel like you’re forced to put a guard up in that situation and almost increase your standard of work to prove that you, as the only female, can do the job as well as or better than male photographers.”
Despite the increase in female identifying musicians being a massive step forward for feminism; it is important that women from all aspects of the industry e.g. sound engineers, DJs, songwriters, photographers are all supported too. To see more of Amy’s work, click here.