Tish Murtha, one of Magnum photojournalist David Hurn’s first students at the famous School of Documentary Photography in Newport, Wales, in the 1970s, was one of the finest documentary photographers of her generation but, in the all-too-usual manner, was ignored by the photography establishment until recently thanks to the tireless efforts of her daughter Ella Murtha, The Photographers’ Gallery, Bluecoat Press, Café Royal Books and others.
The course at The School of Documentary Photography was unique in Britain at the time and produced many fine photographers, a couple of whom later moved to Australia.
Others went on to fame and fortune, while Tish Murtha seemed to have disappeared into the background after initial early successes and commissions, dying prematurely in 2013.
Given the way female photographers have tended to be ignored and forgotten, it is wonderful to see that Tish Murtha is finally receiving the recognition that she deserved so much in her lifetime.
“There’s Jayne Mansfield, striding through New York in a tight dress. There’s fashion designer Diane von Fürstenberg, reclining on a flight with a notepad on her lap. There’s lifestyle icon Martha Stewart, leading ducks round her property dressed in a denim romper suit. They’re all here, along with Susan Sontag, Nora Ephron and countless other celebrities, intellectuals and icons of the 20th century – and all of them women.
Susan Wood, the celebrated photographer who took these shots, found that her subjects all shared certain characteristics. “The first thing is intelligence,” she says. “The second is responsiveness. And they all had tremendous energy, joie de vivre, openness. They could understand things that weren’t quite said.”…”
“History confirms it – the first photobook was made by a woman, with British photographer Anna Atkins publishing Photographs of British Algae: Cyanotype Impressions in 1843, a year before Henry Fox Talbot’s The Pencil of Nature. Still, many historians, including Allan Porter in his introduction to The Photobook: A History, dismiss Atkins’ work as “photographic prints” rather than photography.
“Unfortunately, this is far too often emblematic of the uphill battle women photobook-makers still encounter when we talk about their history,” says Russet Lederman, co-founder of 10×10 Photobooks. “As we conducted research for the How We See project, we discovered that although women photographers produce relatively equal numbers of photobooks to men, their representation in the higher-profile sectors was, and still is, disappointing.”…”
“Late Monday evening, VII (pronounced “seven”), one of the world’s premier photojournalism agencies, discreetly posted a terse, two-sentence statement on its website announcing that Antonin Kratochvil, the famed photographer and one of the organization’s founding members, had resigned. Any further inquiries, the agency said, “should be directed to Mr. Kratochvil.”
Kratochvil’s quiet resignation came on the heels of a bombshell report in the Columbia Journalism Review by Kristen Chick, in which several women accused him of groping and intimidating a number of female colleagues. (Kratochvil continues to deny all allegations.)…
… There were stories about the toxic culture of photojournalism before Chick’s reporting, including recent articles that brought down the famed sports photographer Bill Frakes and National Geographic editor Patrick Witty. But nothing was as comprehensive and pointed as Chick’s piece. After witnessing a wave wash over Hollywood, the media, politics, and corporate America, Chick’s story should have hastened our industry’s own #MeToo moment. That hasn’t happened — and the reason is bigger than a few bad actors….”
“… in the broader photographic industry there is still an equality gap that exists despite the movements that publicly call out old school stereotypical gender ‘norms’ – especially in the professional photographer arena. Hell, it still exists in most arenas. Professional or otherwise! So what is wrong with this picture? Is it just that more men are interested in photography than women and so more men become professionals? Well, if that were the case then what happened to all those young women I attended art school with? Exceptionally talented photographers….”
“Women such as Julia Margaret Cameron were among the pioneers of photography and the earliest members of the Royal Photographic Society. However, the society is concerned that despite a few superstars such as the American photographer Annie Leibovitz, the importance of the work of contemporary female photographers is being overlooked in a male-dominated profession.
The society is launching an international campaign, Hundred Heroines, to find and honour outstanding contemporary female photographers, and is inviting both members of the public and professionals to put forward names to join the ranks….”
“It is the policy of the Australian Cinematographers Society (ACS) that every member of the Society and the greater Film and Television industry has the right to work in an environment free from any gender, race, disability, religious, sexual orientation discrimination or harassment and bullying of any kind. This includes any verbal, emotional, physical, cyber or sexual harassment.
The Society will not tolerate any behaviour that is considered threatening or disrespectful towards or by any of our members or guests….”
“Although there seems to be more focus on the gender disparity issue lately—some are even cynically saying it’s a fashionable trend to talk about gender and diversity—the fact remains that women are less represented and less awarded in the profession of visual journalism….”
Women Photograph – “an initiative that launched in 2017 to elevate the voices of female visual journalists.”