FINDING MY SHERO – my journey into indie doc land
BY KAREN WHITEHEAD, director, Her Aim Is True
As I became a teenager in London in the late Seventies, I was fortunate to witness two exciting cultural phenomenons; the indie music punk scene and women on my doorstep ‘rising’ as entrepeneurs or leaders(Anita Roddick founder, The Body Shop, Margaret Thatcher, UK Prime Minister.)
Along the way, I really took to heart Helen Reddy’s anthem that “no ones ever going to keep me down again… if I have to I can do anything.” I mean, who wouldn’t when you have had the likes of Roddick and Thatcher in your cosmos. These role models, in quite diverse ways told my developing feminist teen brain that you can be what you want to be, and along the way demolish male bastions in business and politics, and change the conversation. Admittedly it helped having anti-establishment rhetoric like ‘never mind the bollocks’ as the soundtrack to my teendom.
More than a couple of decades later I am mustering all my resources and determination with a dash of Thatcherite resolve to reach audiences for my film documenting an early glass ceiling shatterer and original indie herself, Jini Dellaccio. Dellaccio is a woman who boldly changed the formula for photographing bands, a pioneer in rock photography in fact – but you have never heard of her.
There are countless sheroes out there, women who for decades have quietly and anonymously tread indie paths in creativity and business, taken great leaps forward for all of us. I also know how unlikely you are to ever hear about many of them. But through the power of documentary film, I just want to make sure at least one more does get out of the shadows, and is no longer missing from history. Dellaccio’s story can empower and inspire so many more and her photographic legacy counts up there with the masters we already know about.
Jini Dellaccio is the perfect subject for documentary. She is a charming storyteller and she dared to do different. Through her lens we get a unique take on the early rock years and musicians at its helm. Dellaccio’s photos, many I interviewed, agree were as important as the music, and her bond with the musicians led to such bold, innovative compositions, it is breathtaking to think of how she accomplished this.
In my reveal of Dellaccio’s archive and journey as an artist, I hope Her Aim Is True gives audiences an insight into the relationship between music and photography from a female perspective for a change. (Lets face it rock and photography, especially in the 1960s, is a very male dominated world.)
So, Jini Dellaccio, is my shero and the reason I embarked on my own journey in independent filmmaking. I now want Dellaccio to be your Shero too – to carry forward that carpe diem spirit, and do what you want to do. Jini courageously did so – regardless of expectations and convention throughout her life. She reinvented herself from jazz musician in the 1930s to rock photographer in the early 1960s and when I asked her at the age of 93 how she felt about taking on the latest in digital camera technology to shoot an up and coming rock band many decades her junior, she just said: Why Not?
Shero power is in your hands now – as reviewers of my film say, we need more of these stories out there – partner with us, share and support this film’s journey into the world. You can click here and make a difference to the film’s future:
Her Aim Is True plays Denver’s Voices Film Festival March 20th & 21st – what happens next is up to you!