IMAGE Editor-in-chief Lizzie Gore-Grimes introduces you to the November issue of IMAGE Magazine.
Having just finished rereading Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Remains of the Day last week, one very simple sentence, in the last six pages of the book, really stuck with me.
It’s a scene where Mr Stevens (Anthony Hopkins to you and me) is sitting on a bench in Weymouth at dusk, observing the anticipation building around him as the lights on the pier are about to be turned on. Sitting there, he comes to the realisation that “for a great many people, the evening is the best part of the day, the part they most look forward to”.
I, for one, am definitely one of those“great many people”. We’re fairly evenly split in our house between those who relish the clocks going back and those who don’t. Myself and my eldest son, Andrew, are firmly in the former camp. For the simple reason, that with shorter days come longer evenings. And with the encroaching dark comes the excuse to close the curtains, shut out the world, and hide away in easy comfort.
If I was allowed, this would be my default setting all year around. Which is why I have so much respect for those who do just the opposite, who put themselves out there, exposed to the elements. And no one more so than the global phenomenon that is Greta Thunberg. On page 64, Holly Hughes describes Greta as a young woman “of staunch integrity who stands – wholly and unapologetically herself – in front of world leaders, demanding to be heard.” Holly goes on to highlight the impact that Greta’s refusal “to follow a patriarchal code of female likeability” is having on young women across the globe who are seeing first-hand how a perceived weakness (in Greta’s case, her Asperger’s) is, in fact, better viewed as a liberating superpower.
While on page 98, our No Filter series of portraits by photographer Lee Malone features six women who have also found liberation in letting go; letting go of irrelevant ideals of beauty. Opening up to Holly O’Neill, writer Emma Dabiri, photographed in her eighth month of pregnancy, confesses, “I am more confident now than I’ve ever been. I don’t feel like I owe the world perfection. When I was young, make-up was like a crutch, a mask I was hiding behind. Now, I wear it only on certain occasions, where I can really enjoy it.” While “Strong. Empowered. Beautiful.” are words Paralympic swimmer Ellen Keane uses to describe how being photographed, just as herself, by Lee made her feel. “These are things I never thought I’d feel about my body,” she continues. “They are words every woman has the right to feel about herself, yet they are words I started to believe about myself only in recent years.”
Although they range in age, nationality, race and profession, Greta and these women all have one thing in common: They have stopped making any apology for who they are and how they present themselves. Something Lia Hynes urges us all to do on page 119, where she talks about the curse of misplaced gratitude, a phenomenon that sees too many people, mostly women, undermine their self-worth in a work environment by feeling “lucky” to be there. You don’t need to be grateful, says Lia, you just need to be proud of yourself. In any quest for comfort, nothing is more powerful than finding that solace in your own skin.
Coming to a place where you can sit and look forward to the possibilities that stretch, like a long winter evening, out in front of you.
The November issue of IMAGE Magazine is on sale now.