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We Are Lady Parts: A New Way to Tell Stories About Bands

We Are Lady Parts: A New Way to Tell Stories About Bands

We Are Lady Parts, the story of an all-Muslim-female punk band in London, is a groundbreaking collaboration between creator Nida Manzoor and cinematographer Diana Olifirova. Not only is the plot compelling and refreshing, but Olifirova and Manzoor also use a variety of filmmaking techniques to develop character, move the story along, and visually excite their audience. I had a chance to speak with Olifirova about putting Manzoor’s project on screen.

Camera Movement as Character Development 

Olifirova selected different lenses, lighting techniques, and camera movements to flesh out the characters of We Are Lady Parts. For example, Olifirova chose slow and precise camera movements for the quieter, more withdrawn Amina. In contrast, Olifirova shot Saira with much more rough, staccato camera movements to reflect her more urgent and fiery personality. Each of Olifirova’s We Are Lady Parts setups depend on who’s the focus of the scene.

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Lighting as Exposition

Each time the band plays, it feels like mini-punk rock video. I was curious if Olifirova drew on any real-life bands or videos as inspiration. Although she didn’t directly take inspiration from any particular bands, Olifirova did draw on the lighting of Michael Jackson’s Dirty Diana. Olifirova is a proponent of dramatic lighting that serves to mirror on-screen action or direct the audience’s attention.  

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The We Are Lady Parts band develops musically and becomes a more a cohesive unit over the course of the season. As this occurs, the lighting becomes more sophisticated and professional-looking. You’ll notice that each time the band plays that the colors get richer and more dramatic. Olifirova explained that although they wanted the band to be improving aesthetically, they couldn’t make what is supposed to be an indie band look like they were putting on a full rock star-stadium show. To this end, Olifirova worked to make the lighting look as realistic as possible while still elevating the quality and intensity of the drama. 

Hallucinatory Realism

Despite these informal rules for how to shoot character exposition and plot development, Olifirova and Manzoor also wanted the freedom to follow through with any outside-of-the-box ideas and aesthetics that struck their fancy. The scenes that dissolve into hallucinatory realism are clear examples of this openness to exploring a variety of looks. Transitioning the characters from modern-day London to the set of a retro game show, a Casablanca-inspired love scene, or even a moment from A Clockwork Orange lets Olifirova play with a variety of genres and their related conventions. Watching the characters dissolve into black and white romance from the golden age of cinema or a hilarious send-up of Burgess’s and Kubrick’s Ludovico Technique is just so much fun. Allowing these moments of the marvelous opens the door for Olifirova and Manzoor to use filmmaking to share their character design in jarringly creative ways.

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Impact of COVID

Like most projects over the past two years, COVID had an impact on filming. The pilot was shot mostly on location. Unfortunately, public health restrictions forced the balance of production into the studio. Olifirova told me that although the locations would have suited the show well, working in studio did give her greater control over lighting. Olifirova explained that she was able to put holes in walls to shoot through or move mirrors around to act as reflectors. Some of the locations, like the butcher shop, even had to be rebuilt. When it came to shooting the band practices, Olifirova was able to use more dramatic lighting without needing to show equipment an indie band could never afford.

We Are Lady Parts is fun. Olifirova’s cinematography seems to be a perfect match for Manzoor’s imagination. It seems like the cast and crew had such an amazing time on set that these feelings were infused into the final product. If you like music and you like good camera work and lighting, We Are Lady Parts is not to be missed. 

Up Next For Olifirova

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Next, Olifirova is set to work on Heartstoppers, a comic story originating and then gaining fame on Tumblr. As she puts it, Heartsoppers is a classic boy-meets-boy comic book. Having read the comic, I can’t wait to see the creative spin that Olifirova will bring to the work.

All images used with permission of by NBC / Peacock and Diana Olifirova.

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10th Pink Lady Food Photographer of the Year Exhibition at RPS

10th Pink Lady Food Photographer of the Year Exhibition at RPS

The 10th anniversary Pink Lady Food Photographer of the Year exhibition has been planned for the 20th November – 12th December 2021 at the RPS in Bristol, UK, showcasing over 170 photos from more than 25 categories.

If you want to enter next years competition, then the 2022 edition of Pink Lady® Food Photographer of the Year is now open. Submissions close on 6 February 2022. To find out more visit

Abdul Momin, Pink Lady Food Photographer of the Year 2021

Abdul Momin, Winner, Fujifilm Award for Innovation, Pink Lady® Food Photographer of the Year 2021

Pink Lady® Food Photographer of the Year premieres its tenth anniversary exhibition at The Royal Photographic Society

This winter, Pink Lady® Food Photographer of the Year, the world’s leading awards for food photography and film, is premiering its tenth anniversary exhibition at The Royal Photographic Society, one of the oldest photographic societies in the world.

With over 170 images from more than 25 categories, ranging from the Politics of Food to Marks & Spencer Food Portraiture, the exhibition captures the great sweep of stories and cultures in the world of food.

RPS Pink Lady Collaboration

‘The RPS is excited to present the visual feast that will be the Pink Lady® Food Photographer of the Year 2021 exhibition at its new gallery space in Bristol and are proud to be the first venue to host the finalist work outside London.’ said Dr Michael Pritchard FRPS, Director of Education and Public Affairs of The Royal Photographic Society, ‘This showcase of the world’s best food photography is sure to satisfy the city’s ardent foodies and the wider public.’

‘We are hugely honoured to be holding our tenth anniversary exhibition at The Royal Photographic Society – the exhibition is the exciting culmination of our Awards year and, though I say it myself, it is magnificent, we always get wonderful feedback. So do come and see us there!’ says Caroline Kenyon, Founder/Director of the Awards.

British documentary photographer Martin Parr CBE, recipient of the Pink Lady® Food Photographer of the Year Lifetime Achievement Award, will also be speaking at the exhibition. Parr has, for many years, used documentary images of food to explore social issues and identity, defining both his unique style and this genre of photography. Bristol is home to The Martin Parr Foundation, founded in 2014 and houses not only his own photography archive but also collections from other British and Irish photographers.

‘As home to the Royal Photographic Society, and an amazing creative community, Bristol is the perfect home for this event, not least because it is another opportunity to turn the spotlight on our incredible local food and drink, the majority of which have had such a challenging year.’ said Kathryn Davis, Head of Tourism, Visit Bristol, ‘This is a great opportunity to welcome back visitors to the city and attract new ones, and celebrate the best in food photography.’

The exhibition at the RPS, Bristol will run from 20 November to 12 December 2021. Entry is free. No booking required.

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Pink Lady Food POTY winners announced

Pink Lady Food POTY winners announced

Taste, by Chinese photographer Li Huaifeng, has won the overall prize in the Pink Lady Food Photographer of the Year 2021 competition.

The winning image, taken in Licheng, Shanxi, shows a young family sharing in the joy of preparing food. “This picture is technically outstanding in its use of light and composition, but what raises it to the level of historic importance is the depth of its storytelling and emotion, says Caroline Kenyon, Director/Founder of the awards.

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It tells of a year of isolation and living indoors, living in tiny communities and of immediate family.

Almost 10,500 entries were submitted from over 70 countries for this year’s contest, which celebrates its 10th anniversary. A new category has been introduced in memory of Claire Aho, Finland’s greatest woman photographer. The first winner of the Claire Aho Award for Women Photographers is Marina Spironetti with her portrait Female Butchers of Panzano Martina (below).

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The Outstanding Achievement Award was presented to the World Food Programme. “Their use of photography to explain their work in places of danger and deprivation around the world is extraordinary,” Caroline added.

Winners will be shown at the RPS in Bristol from 20 November – 12 December 2021 and you can enjoy them at in the meantime.

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