My Modern Met: Interview: Online Directory of Female Photographers Challenges Gender Bias

https://mymodernmet.com/alreadymade-female-commercial-photographers/

“Tired of the marginalization of female photographers in the commercial world, Jill Greenberg decided to take matters into her own hands. The successful photographer, whose work went viral due to her set of crying toddler photos, has started the directory Alreadymade. The site serves to take away any excuses for clients who feel as though they can’t find talented female photographers for high-end commercial photo shoots by giving these talented women a platform.

Although women are responsible for 85% of consumer purchases, female photographers are passed over for the majority of entertainment shoots and advertising campaigns. This means that male photographers are shaping the way we see and perceive the world the majority of the time (up to 90%)….”

Commentary

It is great to see that Jill Greenberg has added her reputation and energy to the fight for equal female participation and representation in the creative media with her Alreadymade. initiative but sad to see that, despite a long history of great photography by female photographers, the numbers continue to be so against that equality.

Some influential, inspirational female photographers in my past

leibovitz_mark_book_1024px_60pc
The Photojournalist: Two Women Explore the Modern World and the Emotions of Individuals; Mary Ellen Mark & Annie Leibovitz; text by Adrianne Marcus, with the editors of Alskog, inc., Masters of Contemporary Photography; New York; 1974. One of the first books on photography I ever bought.

While writing this article, I began compiling from memory a list of female photographers whose work has been crucial in shaping my own way of seeing since I first picked up a camera, and that list just grew and grew.

Growing up in an isolated little town in the uttermost west, I did not have access to other photographers or to museums or galleries and certainly never saw exhibitions of photography anywhere back then, but I could and did order books from lending libraries in other towns across the state via the state library system and occasionally managed to buy photography magazines, so my access to other people’s work was limited.

As I added names from memory, this list just grew and grew and it is just the tip of the iceberg.

Further information about these photographers and links to their websites and other sources are available at Wikipedia’s List of women photographers.

  • Annie Leibovitz
  • Berenice Abbott
  • Bettina Rheims
  • Cindy Palmano
  • Deborah Turbeville
  • Diane Arbus
  • Doris Ulmann
  • Dorothea Lange
  • Edith Tudor-Hart
  • Ellen von Unwerth
  • Fay Godwin
  • Florence Henri
  • Gertrude Käsebier
  • Graciela Iturbide
  • Helen Levitt
  • Hilla Becher
  • Jane Bown
  • Jill Furmanovsky
  • Jo Spence
  • Joyce Tenneson
  • Julia Margaret Cameron
  • June Newton née Browne aka Alice Springs
  • Laura Gilpin
  • Lauren Greenfield
  • Lee Miller
  • Lisette Model
  • Lotte Jacobi
  • Lucia Moholy
  • Margaret Bourke-White
  • Markéta Luskačová
  • Martine Franck
  • Mary Ellen Mark
  • Nan Goldin
  • Peggy Sirota
  • Pennie Smith
  • Sally Mann
  • Sarah Moon
  • Sirkka-Liisa Konttinen
  • Susan Meiselas
  • Sylvia Plachy
  • Tessa Traeger
  • Tina Modotti
  • Vivian Maier
  • Yevonde Middleton

Links

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The New York Times: This Working Class Photographer Documented Her Community in Industrial England [Article behind paywall though limited free reading is available.]

The great British documentary photographer Tish Murtha.
The late Tish Murtha, British documentary photographer. Photographs reproduced here under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 License.

“Tish Murtha’s relentless vision can be characterized by a single trait: empathy. She unflinchingly investigated forsaken communities crippled by ineffective government policies and bleak living conditions.

Despite her notable output — powered by an active home darkroom — her work went underrecognized throughout her life and after her sudden death in 2013. Last year, her daughter Ella spearheaded an online campaign to publish a limited-edition book based on Murtha’s series “Youth Unemployment.” She is now having her first retrospective, “Tish Murtha: Works 1976-1991,” on view at The Photographers’ Gallery in London through October 14….

… Gordon MacDonald, the exhibit’s co-curator, deemed Ella the “driving force behind the rediscovery of her work and archive” (Ella herself was blunt as to why her mother had been overlooked for so long: “Because she didn’t have a penis”). This was, Mr. MacDonald said, “a very direct and plausible argument to explain this historic lack of visibility for Tish, and many other female artists and photographers.”… “

Commentary

“Because she didn’t have a penis” is an apt comment from Tish Murtha’s daughter Ella Murtha explaining why her mother had been so overlooked as a great British documentary photographer for so long.

Yet Ms Murtha was not always overlooked, given her commission to photograph for the London by Night show by The Photographers’ Gallery in London, in 1983.

Three other great British photographers also worked on that show – Bill Brandt, Brian Griffin and Peter Marlow – all of whom were already widely acclaimed and successful documentary photographers or if not at the time of that show went on to be so shortly afterwards.

Except for Tish Murtha.

It is rewarding, then, to see that Tish Murtha is finally starting to receive her due but tragic that it is occurring only after her untimely death at the age of 56 in 2013.

Links

Fstoppers: Is the Nikon D850 for Men Only?

https://fstoppers.com/originals/nikon-d850-men-only-195822

“The Nikon D850 is quite the beast of a camera. It holds a massive 45.7-megapixel full-frame sensor that can record 4k video and create 8k time-lapses…. The only problem with such an amazing monster of a camera is that Nikon thinks it’s too much for women to handle….

… I myself can think of a large number of women photographers that would be more than capable of producing spectacular images with any camera, let alone this camera. But when Nikon created a team of 32 professional photographers to be the faces of the Nikon D850, they didn’t choose a single woman photographer….”

Links

if.com.au: Screen agencies, guilds and broadcasters make formal commitment to diversity

http://if.com.au/screen-agencies-guilds-broadcasters-make-formal-commitment-diversity/

“Key organisations from across the screen industry have made a united and formal commitment to work towards building a more inclusive sector….

… To join the SDIN, all of the organisations have had to officially commit to a charterthat enshrines equal opportunities, regardless of age, gender, sexual orientation, nationality, religion, disability or geographic location.

The charter obligates each organisation, inter alia, to reflect the diversity of Australian society in both who they hire and stories they create, to establish benchmarks around diversity, and to commit to seeking out and supporting diverse emerging talent….”

Links:

SheDoc Australian Documentary Filmmaking Initiative for Women as Relevant as Ever

Social media has a habit of recycling old news as if it were new news, so little surprise that SheDoc, the joint initiative between Screen NSW and the Documentary Australia Foundation, has appeared on news feeds just as its applications deadline of March 1st looms. 

SheDoc was launched in November 2016 and is a joint initiative of Documentary Australia Foundation and Screen NSW with the support of Røde Microphones.

This initiative is not before its time, given I have witnessed and experienced discrimination for being the wrong person from the wrong side of the tracks for decades now. With luck, female documentary moviemakers who have been unable to break through the glass ceiling may begin to start seeing some cracks appear.

SheDoc’s aim is to give 4 grants per year to:

  • Encourage new voices.
  • Enable skills to be consolidated or developed.
  • Assist projects to be kickstarted.
  • Assist in building strategic audience engagement strategies.

Links:

Image Credits:

Header image concept and design by Carmel D. Morris.