Given current attitudes to research and development, the manufacturing industry and the presence of women in science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM), it is a wonder that Australian female tech entrepreneurs stick to it and sometimes even thrive.
Noreen Roesler of Permanence located in the Sydney CBD and the suburb of Drummoyne has persisted in the long, hard fight to revive, improve and educate about galvanic electrology aka electrolysis in the face of its almost complete disappearance from the 1970s onwards.
Ms Roesler has survived as a self-funded entrepreneur against all the odds and and has thrived given the evidence of her two outlets in Australia, but continues the battle to re-establish galvanic multi-probe electrolysis as the only permanent hair removal method under the name of the Permanence Method.
Galvanic electrolysis was developed by ophthalmologist Charles Michel in 1869 in St. Louis, Missouri, as a technique for treating ingrown eyelashes, and was reported in the medical literature in 1875 after which its use took off in medical practice and then beauty salons.
The Permanence website contains a detailed history of galvanic electrolysis and other methods of hair removal touted as permanent but which proved to be less so compared to Permanence’s galvanic multi-probe electrolysis technique.
Other hair removal methods include blend, depilatories, epilators, friction, intense pulsed light aka IPL, laser, shaving, sugaring, tweezing, thermolysis, threading, waxing and x-rays (sometimes fatal).
Better characterized as hair reduction rather than hair removal techniques, none of these are permanent with the US Food and Drug Administration aka FDA stating in 2007 that “only electrologists are allowed to claim permanent hair removal in their advertising” as “no other device for hair removal has the unique identification of ‘destroying the dermal papilla of a hair’”.
Having run the gauntlet for far too many years of nonpermanent hair removal methods that are falsely claimed to be permanent – read that word in finger quotes – I have just undergone my first galvanic multi-probe electrolysis session at Permanence.
So far I can report that this first electrolysis session appeared successful in killing the hair follicles and bulges to which it was applied and that the sometimes reported pain was more of a briefly intense sensation that soon abated followed by the rewarding feeling of the hairs sliding out when the needles were removed.
One thing is certain, and that is that the sensations I experienced during the session were nothing compared to the 24/7/365 pain, itchiness and unsightliness of hairs being where they should not.
I dropped into the Media + Entertainment Tech Expo 2019 trade show component on its first day to catch up on recent developments in hardware and software from the point of view of the self-funded independent media producer that I am.
METexpo, for short, is the rebranded and relaunched biannual conference and trade show exhibition formerly referred to as SMPTE, not to be confused with the Australian section of the organization known as SMPTE standing for Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers.
Although METexpo 2019 aimed to be more inclusive than previous SMPTE conferences and exhibitions, by “focusing on all aspects of the industry that drives the ‘creation, distribution and consumption’ of media, entertainment and technology”, this year’s version was a much smaller affair than all the previous ones I had attended and many Australian and foreign brands and retailers were missing in action.
While previous SMPTE trade shows demanded at least one full day to get through all their exhibits, I found I could see everything of interest in the space of a morning due to the many no-shows this year.
I hope that future METexpos will see their exhibitor numbers climb back up but am wondering at the wisdom of staging it every two years given the high pace of change within all the categories covered this year – “Audio Mixers, Audio Processing & effects, Audio Production, Cameras & Lenses, Capture Devices & Software, Cloud Technology, Delivery & Distribution, Digital Solutions, Esports, IP Broadcast Solutions, Lighting, Microphones, Mobile/Vehicle Production, Motion Picture/Virtual Production, Motion Picture/Production, Networking Technologies, Post Production, Set Design/Props/Furniture, Workflow Solutions”.
Two important global Australian-based brands missing from METExpo 2019 were Blackmagic Design and Miller Tripods while the long list of other absent long-established and breakthrough companies in the media and entertainment technology aka MET space included Adobe, Canon, Dedolight, Dell, Dolby, Fujifilm, Hewlett-Packard, Pelican, Think Tank Photo, Vitec Group and its many brands, while Rotolight’s only inclusion this year was one boxed-up product on display in a vitrine in the CR Kennedy stand, a Rotolight Neo 2 HSS and continuous LED light unit.
I had particularly hoped to see, touch and try Blackmagic Design’s breakthrough Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K along with a range of suitable accessories, lenses and rigging, but was disappointed.
Meanwhile other brands of interest had much smaller displays of their products than usual and were minus the on-floor speakers and try-out displays of previous SMPTE trade shows.
A sad loss given the lack of all-in-one retailers in this country and especially Sydney, places where one can see, try and buy items of interest rather than going by word-of-mouth or Youtube reviews before placing back orders or ordering online from overseas.
One long-established MET trade show tradition that remained in full force is exhibitors’ tendency to ignore females on the show floor in favour of almost exclusively paying attention to the males of the species.
Useful if one is going about making documentary photographs as I was, standing up close to my subjects while they engage with each other and ignoring me as if I am invisible, but not so great if I wanted directly engage with exhibitors to ask questions and try out new items.
The METexpo 2019 modus operandi as I and a number of attendees I watched experienced it was essentially one of being left to our own devices to gaze into display cases or accost passing floor staff in search of answers about the items within.
With Fujifilm taking Super 35 video production more seriously with its X-T3 and X-H1 cameras, and hopefully even more so with possible successors X-T4 and X-H2, the need for geared cinema quality prime lenses like SLR Magic’s MicroPrimes can only increase.
As a documentary person, 1.3 to 10 stops variable neutral density solutions like this one by SLR Magic are a must and even more so with recent cinema and video cameras having higher base ISOs than on previous generation hardware.
Given my other duties as a carer and limited funds I was unable to attend the METexpo 2019 conference and had to miss out on the Women In Industry Function and Women in Media and Technology Breakfast but hope that they may prove to be turning points for female inclusion and visibility in the MET industries and especially METexpo itself.
I made all the photographs illustrating this article with my Fujifilm X-Pro2 equipped with a Fujinon XF 16mm f/2.8 R WR “Fujicron” prime lens kindly loaned to me by Fujifilm Australia’s PR consultancy, and also carried a loaner Fujifilm X-H1 and Fujinon XF 18mm f/2.0 R prime lens as well as three of my own Fujinon lenses.
The 16mm lens’ fast back button focus and autofocus proved more useful in the circumstances than the much older 18mm lens, despite the 28mm equivalence of the latter being my all-time favourite focal length for immersive in-situ documentary photography and video.
I found that the 16mm “Fujicron” allowed me to quickly lean forward and back, left and right, in order to reframe my images as human elements constantly moved position relative to each other, and it proved quite a pleasurable experience.
Normally I would reserve the 24mm equivalence of 16mm for superwide establishing shots though I much prefer 21mm equivalent focal lengths for that purpose.
However, the Fujinon XF 16mm f/2.8 R WR’s width proved an asset under the trade show floor’s oftentimes difficult lighting and limited space and I rarely needed to crop my images to exclude extraneous details.
Adobe Australia is presenting an educational program during the St Kilda Film Festival in Melbourne on Saturday and Sunday the 22nd and 23rd June 2019, and it is, apparently, entirely free of charge.
The Festival organizers describe the Adobe Presents: The Big Picture program thus:
The 2019 St Kilda Film Festival‘s two-day filmmaker development program covers everything you need to know about making a short film, from inception to distribution and everything in between.
Sounds great, but I want to see this program or something even better offered all around Australia or at least in Sydney.
How about it, Adobe?
When I was a kid growing up in another state of Australia, there were two possibilities there for training in film and television, a film and television institute and the state branch of the national broadcaster, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
Minorities needed not apply.
The institute was for wealthy, Anglo white boys from the “right” background and the cadetship at the ABC was for not-so-wealthy Anglo white boys from the “right” background or something very close to it.
This was a state still dominated by its Anglo Ascendency and having money and the “right” background remain the prime requirements for getting through the door.
Heaven help you if you were poor, ethnic, indigenous, working class, rural, non-male, of a certain age, a member of the LGBTQI community or some combination of these.
Heaven help you if the stories you wanted to tell fall outside the approved types or genres.
Heaven help you if that meant breaking the rich, white, non-ethnic male dominant narrative which we all perfectly well know is far from the only one that needs to be shared and the near-total dominance of which has lead to the dangerous state of the world today.
Pity if you have been discriminated against all your life, always coming up against closed doors, and yet are still trying to make a positive change for yourself and for those whose stories you need to tell.
Pity if you don’t have the cash or the means to take out a loan to move interstate and get yourself into a course at AFTRS, a university, a private college or some other film, television and digital media training organisation.
Even when Metro Screen in Sydney was operational, its short courses in various production skills were unaffordable for those without the “right” background.
That is why I was pleased but disappointed when I spotted mention of Adobe Presents: The Big Picture on social media.
An overview program like this is certainly better than nothing even if it is not as in-depth and as hands-on as one might like.
An overview program like this is certainly better than the nothing that is accessible to those of us not from the “right” background.
Sheila: A Foundation for Women in Visual Art was officially launched in Perth yesterday (28 May). The initiative comes out of a swelling need for greater gender equality within the visual arts.
‘According to The Countess Report (a Sheila-funded project) women are 75 per cent of art school graduates but only 34 per cent of artists exhibited in our state museums and galleries. Gender inequality is apparent in art prizes, representation of female artists in media and the proportion of female artists represented in exhibitions at state museums,’ reminded Sheila Cruthers on the occasion of the launch.
Sheila aims to redress that in a multi-prong way: to provide scholarships for art historians and curators, assist the purchase and commission works by women artists, and run annual lecture and symposiums focused on women’s art….
Sheila: A Foundation for Women in Visual Art – website
“As revolutions go, this one got off to a quiet and unassuming start in the early 1970s. It was achieved slowly, one female photographer at a time, each hired by The New York Times for her talent with a camera and her desire to practice the best journalism possible.
The men who hired the first of those women quite likely weren’t thinking about altering the prevailing concepts of photojournalism. But over time, as more women were hired and gained acceptance, they began to push successfully for publication of images that were different, for the truths they saw in people and events, for assignments that had once been denied them and for assignments that had not been envisioned before….”
“Not one woman was nominated for this year’s best director Oscar. But some of the hottest forthcoming movies are female-led – so has gender discrimination in the industry been busted?…
… “I think you have a generation of women who will never know if they could have been successes because they never had the opportunity,” says Melissa Silverstein, founder of Women and Hollywood, which campaigns for diversity and equality. The factors preventing women from having sustained movie careers are numerous, Silverstein says. There is institutional sexism, conscious and unconscious, as well as motherhood….”
“There are benefits to being a photographer who happens to be a woman: you’re welcomed into secret worlds, invited into homes, and trusted with the most delicate subjects. Then there are the downsides: fighting to be taken seriously by a male-dominated industry, entering dangerous and unpredictable situations, and tackling stereotypes about where women should go and the topics they should cover. We asked National Geographic’s women photographers from across the world for memories and reflections on how gender is intertwined with their work, the opportunities for young women coming after them, and the future of their field….”
I accidentally discovered that a DJI boutique has opened in the Sydney central business district – aka CBD – at World Square while on the way back to the ‘burbs from an International Women’s Day event that I had been covering.
Two handheld gimbals were on display as well as several drones of various sizes.
One gimbal was the recently released Ronin-S, a product in which I am interested, but did not dare pick it up and try it out as the Canon DSLR mounted on it had a defective lens mount lock and the Canon EF 24-105mm kit zoom lens looked like it was in danger of dropping off at any moment.
It is great that a standalone store is now showing off and selling DJI products in Sydney now.
Although a subset of DJI products and other brands of drones and gimbals can be found in some city and suburban camera stores, none so far have a a substantial collection of such products to see, try and buy.
I would love to find a place that stocks Zhiyun-Tech handheld gimbals so I can try them out as well, in order to make an informed purchasing choice and so I can make informed recommendations to readers of ‘Untitled’.
It would also be terrific to find a store where the staff do not ignore me as if I were invisible.
Do they assume that an unaccompanied female cannot afford to buy their products?
“We put a spotlight on these acclaimed Australian technicians – including their career highlights and how they shot them – as part of International Women’s Day.
To gain accreditation from the Australian Cinematographers Society (ACS) is no mean feat.
It requires a minimum number of years working within the industry and a body of work which represents not just that you can do the job, but with a level of creativity and innovation that exceeds the norm.
A sub-committee then assesses the work and from there you may be awarded your ‘letters’ – the ACS that appears after your name.
To date, 15 women have been awarded that elite title (only 5.6%), and the ACS hopes that will grow. As part of International Women’s Day, we celebrate their achievements, and hear in their own words about career highlights, cameras, lenses, and what draw them to cinematography (in order of accreditation year)….”