When I started this website in 2002, I called it

Pat Arnow: The Personal and Political, title of my website from 2002-2016.

It was a play on the feminist slogan from the 1970s, “The personal is political.” That had been a revelation to me in the 1970s. You mean some of the crap I encountered wasn’t due to my own deficiencies? I wasn’t alone? There was something women could do together to change the system in which the only jobs we could get were lowly with bad pay? We could unite to stop the corrosive jokes, the lack of respect? We made a little progress, and the expression fell out of use. I still love the concept and thank it for the wider perspective it gave me.

Partisan Journalism

Using a variation of the slogan seemed appropriate for what I was trying to do with the website–to create a place to show off my photography and writing, which were always both political and personal. I’ve worked for many advocacy publications and groups and never aspired to mainstream, so-called objective journalism (though, full disclosure, I had a stint as a research editor at Readers Digest–a fact checker). HERE is a page with links to some of my reporting.

Occupy Wall Street protester with sign, "When the system is stacked against you, never surrender. I am not afraid."

My goal with the website was to show it off as a portfolio in order to get jobs. It worked very well. The website convinced some unions to hire me as a regular freelancer. Click HERE for a page with links to photos of of that work–and some other photoessays.

Department of Lost Causes,
Lower East Side Division

A few years ago, I slacked off doing photo work, and in 2018, I became a neighborhood advocate, trying to save our Lower East Side East River Park from total destruction. It was taking action based on belief in another old slogan: Think Globally, Act Locally. Here’s a link to the website I created and sometimes still update with news of the (devastated) park and the organization I co-founded: East River Park ACTION.

In the photo, I’m holding the shovel at a march through East River Park in a rally to “Bury the Plan Not the Park.” We dug a grave for a simulacrum of the East Side Coastal Resiliency boondoggle plan.

Save Our Park march in East River Park, Manhattan

Why bother

Now, i’m not seeking new work. Few people know where the Personal/Political slogan came from. It’s time for an update. But why keep the website if I’m not looking for work? Well, I want to continue my advocacy by highlighting the people and places I came to know, to celebrate the resiliency, anger, joy, and pain of so many. I also want to entertain with some engaging pictures and articles. And to show off another project I’ve been doing:

Posey says, "Soon. Suffering is not redemptive."

Life as a Cartoon

Drawing comic stories about death

Making comics was how I spent much time as I wound down my photo work in the past few years. Like my photography, I see the comics as a form of advocacy–for people–including medical practitioners–to face unafraid (or at least to face with less fear) the inevitable end of life for family, friends and self. HERE are links to stories I’ve drawn about death and dying. Lots of laffs guaranteed. No, sorry. Maybe you’ll get a few ironic grins.

EMAIL ME AT [email protected]

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