Opening Night, The 2019 Loud and Luminous Exhibition, St Leonards, NSW, Australia, April 11 2019

I attended the launch of the 2019 Loud and Luminous Exhibition by the Loud and Luminous collective of Australian women and non-binary photographers at Contact Sheet, “an education and mentorship space, a gallery and a co-working space” in the Sydney north shore suburb of St Leonards, located in a complex of creative spaces supported by TWT Developments, Building Hope Foundation and Brand X. 

This is the first time I have encountered these organizations and there may well be some intriguing stories and documentary subjects to be found within them. 

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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

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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

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The Phoblographer: Let’s Talk About the Gender Gap in Art and Photography

https://www.thephoblographer.com/2018/10/09/gender-gap-art-photography/

“… These numbers reinforce the long-standing notion that male photographers receive better deals overall: including, but not limited to, assignments, wages, positions, and exposure. And it’s not even that women don’t make the effort. As the same study found, they do, in fact, do so more than their male peers: more of them are university educated, more engaged in social media, more versatile in terms of technology used, and more digitally savvy.

Which is why it can get irritating and exhausting every time news like a prominent camera brand announcing not one, not two, but 32 brand ambassadors, with literally all of them being male photographers comes out….”

Image of Migrant Mother by renowned female photographer Dorothea Lange sourced from the Library of Congress’ Prints & Photographs Online Catalog (PPOC).

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The Guardian: The high-fliers club: how Susan Wood captured the original rebel girls

https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2018/sep/28/the-high-fliers-club-how-susan-wood-captured-the-original-rebel-girls

“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.”…”

Women: Portraits 1960-2000, by Susan Wood, published by Pointed Leaf Press, 2018.

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British Journal of Photography: How We See: Photobooks by Women

http://www.bjp-online.com/2018/09/how-we-see-photobooks-by-women/

“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.”…”

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Fuji Island, Picture Perfect Paradise [Special offer time-limited until December 7, 2018]

https://www.fujiisland.com.au/

“Ever wondered what life would be like on your own private island? Or dreamt of whiling away your days as a travel blogger?

Fuji Island is the ultimate luxury escape for photography lovers….

… Created by FUJIFILM, the island comes with the latest camera equipment – including FUJIFILM’s brand new X-T3 mirrorless camera, world-famous lenses and a range of other photography goodies. You even have your own personal photographer on call….”

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Fujifilm X-T3 with Fujifilm VG-XT3 Vertical Battery Grip and Fujinon MKX 18-55mm T2.9 cinema zoom lens. Photograph by Jonas Rask, courtesy of Fujifilm.

Fuji Island picture gallery, images courtesy of Fujifilm Australia

Commentary

This sounds like an interesting concept, and I am looking forward to seeing participants’ photographs made on Fuji Island at a Fujifilm event that was apparently held there last week, the week of 3rd September 2018.

Although the Fuji Island web page states “Experience  Fuji Island  for USD $2,200 per night for up to two people (minimum two night stay)”, it appears that the island resort is capable of accomodating at least sixty-three people as that was the number of guests invited to the event.

Fuji Island seems to be a time-limited phenomenon rather than a permanent one:

Fuji Island is available for private hire and overnight luxury stays until 7th December 2018.

If you wish to take up Fujifilm’s special offer then make your booking fast, before southern hemisphere vacationers book up all available places!

Meanwhile we have received further information about another Fujifilm Australia event associated with Fuji Island.

Fujifilm Australia held “the XT-3 launch event on the mainland of Fiji where guests were staying (The Marriott in Momi Bay). The following day, we took everybody out by boat to Fuji Island. The launch event was held on the 6th September, and Fuji Island on the 7th.”

“There were 60 people in total attending the event. It was a mix of Fujifilm retailers, partners, staff and media.”

“We don’t have control over when media will publish articles, but we have already started receiving coverage.”

Further on Fuji Island, “Fuji Island is supposed to be an island paradise people can book. On the private island, there will be a host of FUJIFILM equipment, including an X-T3 that people can try out and take amazing holiday photos with.”

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Fujifilm Small Eyecup EC-XT S: might this be a good choice for eyeglasses wearers?

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Sony USA: Sony Celebrates No. 1 Overall Position in U.S. Full-frame Cameras with Launch of Historic ‘Be Alpha’ Campaign

https://alphauniverse.com/stories/sony-takes-over-as-no-1-in-u-s–full-frame-cameras–launches-historic–be-alpha–campaign/

“… The ‘Be Alpha’ campaign will also feature programs that are designed to foster growth in both the current and next generations of imaging professionals, the most notable of which being the flagship ‘Alpha Female’ program. This multi-tiered, female exclusive program is Sony’s thoughtful response to the imaging industry’s well-documented diversity challenges. It will include a variety of grants and mentorship opportunities for female photographers and videographers, as well as the production of several large-scale industry events. Additional details to be released soon….”

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Sony Alpha a9 mirrorless digital camera with Sony VG-C3EM vertical grip and Sony Vario-Tessar T* FE 24-70mm f/4 ZA OSS zoom lens.

Commentary

Details about Sony’s coming ‘Alpha Female’ program thread of the ‘Be Alpha’ campaign have yet to appear online but this is the very first time to my knowledge that any camera maker has done anything to address the huge imbalance in opportunities for and representation of female photographers and moviemakers.

It is likely that concrete information about the ‘Alpha Female’ program and the ‘Alpha Female’ photographers and moviemakers involved in it will begin appearing during the ‘Be Alpha’ campaign launch event on August 19th, World Photography Day, in New York City. 

I hope that the ‘Alpha Female’ program will be a beacon to all aspiring and established female photographers and moviemakers everywhere, not just limited to the USA, and inspire all camera and other hardware manufacturing companies to make a real change for the better.

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“Not enough lenses”? Sony A-Mount and E-Mount lenses in 35mm and APS-C sensor formats as of 2017.

Coverage of Sony products, as well as those by Canon and Nikon, has been sporadic here at ‘Untitled’ but Sony’s ‘Alpha Female’ program as well as the other two camera makers’ coming high-end mirrorless cameras are incentive to try to persuade all three brands to assist us in writing about their products with firsthand experience.

Another such incentive is Australian cinematographer/director Paul Leeming’s creation of Sony and Canon inclusive Leeming LUT Pro, “the world’s first unified, corrective Look Up Table (LUT) system for supported cameras, designed to maximise dynamic range, fix skin tones, remove unwanted colour casts and provide an accurate Rec709 starting point for further creative colour grading”.

“Multi-camera shoots are now much easier, because you are starting with a common, colour-matched baseline, meaning much less time trying to match cameras in post before starting your creative grading. Once all your cameras have been corrected, you can optionally use the specially matched Leeming LUT Quickies™ for a one-touch creative grade designed to work seamlessly with the common baseline of Leeming LUT Pro™ corrected footage.”

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Sony FE 55mm f/1.8 ZA Sonnar prime lens for Sony E-Mount cameras with 35mm sensors. Photojournalist David Burnett describes it as “the sharpest, crispest 50mm lens I have ever used”.

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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.

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Resident Advisor: Longtime dance music photographer Sarah Ginn quits the industry due to ‘misogyny and bullying’

https://www.residentadvisor.net/news.aspx?id=40002

“Well-known London music photographer Sarah Ginn is quitting the industry due to persistent “misogyny and bullying.”

In a note posted to Twitter last night, Ginn says that she has been forced to endure blatant sexism for years, treatment that is now causing her to walk away from music entirely….”