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Riposte #11
A mag in five pix

Riposte #11

After a brief break in publication, Riposte is back with its eleventh issue.

Leading with a vivid pink cover (there are also two photographic covers, but the text cover will always be my preferred choice), the new issue is a familiar mix of interviews, opinion pieces and reportage. Founder/editor Danielle Pender and creative director Shaz Madani have gently tweeked the structure – a new section titled Agenda sees an individual curate 20 pages. This, along with some subtle design changes, give the magazine a more mature feel.

A more significant change is to the breadth of the content. As Danielle explained to me recently, while she didn’t want to overtly address Brexit, she’s deliberately looked further afield for a more global and multicultural range of subjects in defiance of the Brexiteers. Here, I highlight five of those stories.

ONE: Perhaps the biggest surprise in the issue is this reportage piece from Japan. Charlotte Jansen interviews recently released left-wing terrorist Yukiko Ekida. Accompanied by moody, anonymity-keeping portraits from Mayuumi Hosokura, it’s a revealing portrait of a person and event I’d not heard of before.

TWO: The next feature takes us to South Africa. Kyle Weeks’ portfolio of photographs introduces us to 21-year old Cape Town ‘spinner’ Stacey-Lee May (she also appears on one of the front covers). Posing in, on and around here bright pink BMW, she’s a unique addition to the series of strong role models Riposte has presented over its 11 issues.

THREE: Next, London-based writer Tahmina Begum reflects on her experience of Bangladeshi weddings – she attended 29 in 2012 alone. She expertly introduces the wedding traditions of her family and friends as the usual way of doing things while sharing her confusion at traditional Western weddings, patronising neither her religion nor the reader in the process. It’s the perfect alternative to the more typical cultural tourist approach to these types of report. Riposte has always used photographed sets as a visual accompaniment and Alexandra Von Fuerst and Hella Keck’s collaborations here are beautiful.

FOUR: Another set of remarkable photographs follow —Photography Director Gem Fletcher deserves a mention for her contribution to the issue – with this story about Muslim Girls Fence, a collaboration between a Muslim charity and British Fencing. It opens with this powerful, Handmaid’s Tale-esque, profile shot by Nina Manandhar of one of the fencers. The accompanying notes point out how the sport builds self-belief and confidence while allowing the participants to be covered up and adhere to their religious guidelines.

FIVE: Our final picture is a spread from Sophie Jane Stafford’s photo story from the the Women of the World Nomad Games – an extraordinary Olympics-style event held every two years in Kyrgyzstan at which 37 unique sports are played by female nomads from across central Asia.

There’s plenty of more regular Riposte fare of course: life according to teenage girls, there’s a glimpse of Omar Sosa’s bare legs, Gem Fletcher reflects on fertility as she and her wife prepare for their first baby, and a look at the new darker forms of feminism neatly dismisses the very millennial pink used on the issue’s cover.

Talking of which, why use that pink now? ‘With the rise of fourth wave feminism a few years ago millennial pink was everywhere when it came to anything related to women,’ says Danielle, ‘We've never wanted to follow trends or fit into a mould so we avoided it as a cover colour. We wanted to establish ourselves as a magazine that explored all aspects of womanhood, to us that meant avoiding visual stereotypes and pushing the aesthetic of what a woman's magazine can look like.’

‘After 11 issues, using a bright pink colour just felt like a fun and bright option for the cover. Now it’s just one colour in a broader palette that we've used over five years as opposed to it linking the magazine to a specific time or trend.’

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