Women were the pioneers of photography

Males still dominate photography. When it comes to the commissioning, exhibition, and publication of photography, it is evident that there is an inequality within the field. Data gathered through the Women Photograph, which is an initiative that aims to encourage and encourage female photographers, has revealed in the period between April and 2019, eight of the most prestigious newspapers published far fewer photos of lead that women took than males. The numbers ranged from 4.2 percent (three of the 72 images printed) for Le Monde to 47% (44/92) in the San Francisco Chronicle.

Explore the field of photojournalism, and the picture gets worse. In examining the UK National Union of Journalists (NUJ) membership, the photography industry is, in particular, not gender-balanced.

In the most recent study of The Situation of News Photography (published in December 2018), 69 percent of women photographers stated that they were discriminated against in the workplace. If asked further about the barriers to their success, they mentioned discrimination based on gender (54 percent) and workplace stereotypes or practices (53 percent), as well as a lack of chances for females (49 percent).

Commercial photography is a source of alarming biases and inequalities, too. Research has revealed gender disparities between professional projects, commissions, membership, and representation. There is only 18% of the Association of Photographers’ certified members are women. The research of Equal Lens, a campaign to promote equality in the industry of advertising, has found that less than 25 percent of commercial photographers who are represented by 70 of the top agents in the industry are female.

Read more: Big data analysis reveals the staggering extent of gender inequality in creative industries.

Considering that two of photography’s earliest trailblazers – Anna Atkins and Julia Margaret Cameron – were female, this situation is extraordinary. These energetic and resourceful women paved the way for many practitioners, yet 150 years later, gender inequality in photography is still very apparent.

Snap Change?

The patriarchal power structure and power structures within the field were reinforced by the language and images used in advertisements for photography targeted at women. When advertisements targeted at male photographers tended to have greater technical skills and capability, female characters like those of the Kodak Girl were utilized to market to women. Introduced around 1893, the feeling was advertised as a symbol of female empowerment, freedom, and advancement for the next 80 years. However, the meaning behind phrases such as “even mum could use it” was not as positive.

Despite this negative stereotype women, women are not discouraged from purchasing their first camera. However, the impact on long-term photography of gendered discourse is evident in the above statistics.

It’s not only about ensuring that women are able to access more opportunities and greater advancements within the field, but. A study by the NUJ has stated: “Men and women experience life differently and have different perspectives to offer, yet the view of what constitutes ‘good photography’ has largely been defined by the work of men … To remain relevant and authentic, the photography industry must seek to become more diverse to fairly reflect the communities it reports on “.

Photographers of women can gain access to locations and record experiences that male photographers can’t. Merla/Shutterstock

Fortunately, things are slowly beginning to improve as both genders challenge photography’s traditional patriarchal mindset. One instance could be Les Rencontres d’Arles, the most prestigious photography event worldwide, which is held from July through September each year. In 2018, only 34% of female photographers selected for the exhibition were female. An unsigned letter was then addressed to Sam Stourdze, the artistic director of the festival, by more than 300 well-known creative professionals who had a negative view of the festival’s schedule and urged the director to strive for equality of gender in the year 2019, which marks the 50th anniversary of the festival.

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