Something About The Women: Photos by Irene Young
Pre-Intro Note: If you wish to make a larger tax-deductible donation, you may contact me via my website contact page: ireneyoungfoto.com or FaceBook messenger.
Dear Friends, I have exciting news! The book is almost done!
I’ve been deeply immersed in creating a book of photography that represents half of my life's work. It begins in the early days of Women's Music and spans until today. Publishing a book of this magnitude takes a community, so I am launching this GoFundMe campaign. With your support, we can bring into the world these 350 pages of beloved musicians, writers, poets, comics, dancers, healers, activists, movers and shakers... in and around our women-centered communities. Below are the details.
I have been kneeling, bending, seeing, receiving, and giving back the beauty in others for 50 of my 71 years. I have lived a simple life filled with creativity, growth, and love within a community like none other. I have been welcomed by musicians, venue owners, record labels, and audiences. I am infinitely grateful to so many for so much. Being a two-time breast cancer survivor, I understand that it has been the luck of the draw that I am still here with you. The gratitude I hold between my heart and my camera is immeasurable. To quote Jennifer Berezan’s sweet song from her CD, Home: “How’d I get so lucky, how’d I get so blessed.”
This has been a daunting project, reviewing thousands of negatives, creating digital proofs, choosing semi-final images, scanning final frames, refining images, sequencing photos, finding the right production designer, searching for a U.S.A. printshop, and managing text to accompany this rich visual story. This book is about The Women’s Community, in which I am honored to play a significant role as a photographer. I have been photographing several of the same women from their early 20s into their 60s and 70s. The book is called Something About The Women (with Holly Near’s blessing and my gratitude, since it is from the title of her well-known song). The subtitle is Five Decades of Seeing by Irene Young.
If the first book goes well, I plan to create a second book of my work in the general music business across all genres: folk, old time, bluegrass, new age, world music, jazz and women’s music. No one except me knows all the musicians I have photographed, so these are photos I can't wait to show you. The working title is The Extra Mile, and I am eager to get started... if all goes well with this first book.
The forward to Something About The Women was written by Olivia Travel (and Records) longtime leader Judy Dlugacz, a dear friend whom I treasure and respect. The intro is by Laurie Mattioli. Having assisted me in my early California days, Laurie knows my work in Women’s Music better than anyone. She has spent countless hours helping me with this project.
The text in this book includes memories and tributes written by various notables such as Margie Adam, Teresa Trull, Linda Tillery, Bonnie Morris, Jennifer Berezan, Cathy Fink, Camellia Pisegna, Penny Rossenwasser, Amy Horowitz, The Deadly Nightshade, Deidre McCalla, June Millington, and many more. In addition, my longtime friends, Robbie Woliver and Marilyn Lash-Woliver wrote a stunning piece about why they loved booking Women’s Music at their famed venue, Folk City. And there is my writing about beloved artists like Laura Nyro and Janis Ian. Janis was the very first musician I photographed. What an honor!
There are tributes to those who have passed, like Alix Dobkin, Therese Edell, Kay Gardner, filmmaker Debra Chasnoff, Ronnie Gilbert, Gwen Avery, activists Phyllis Lyon and Del Martin, archeologist Marija Gimbutas, and others. In addition, there are celebratory descriptions of revered women such as Peggy Seeger, Holly Near, Linda Tillery, Terry Garthwaite, Mary Watkins, Ferron, actress Naomi Newman, and others.
How You Can Help:
Making this costly project affordable to everyone is my dream. I have poured all my resources into this project and now face the daunting cost of printing. If we raise funds to cover the printing, design, and publicity, this 350-page, 11.5 X 8.75 hardcover book can be kept affordable. My GoFundMe goal will likely not cover all the expenses, but it will be a huge help!
My consultants have been pushing me to post this fundraiser for the last year. Fundraising does not come easy for me. If this book were just about me, I would not be doing it. Making a living in the arts today, while the cost of living soars, and at the same time spending thousands of hours on a project like this, has been monumental. However, this is about our remarkable community held together by a common thread of respect, creativity, connectivity, and appreciation for one another. No other community has come together like the women’s community. Without a doubt, I bow to the early movers and shakers of women’s music who started us all on a truly special, life-altering, joy-affirming journey. As you wander through this book's pages, you will also get to know some behind-the-scenes women. I consider the book less about me and more about all of us, what we did, and are doing through our remarkable ability to create a loving, connected network of women.
I remain grateful for my life, my art, and you. If this campaign inspires you, please share.
Color photo of Irene © Tina Silano. All other photos © Irene Young.