“… 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….”
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.”…”
“… The most active and influential street tribes have been top heavy with men. And they defined the language and culture of street in their image, a legacy that is largely intact today.
That explains why some women experience the street community as a boys club. They feel tolerated, but don’t feel like they fully belong, and that the deck is stacked against them. And that’s not just the view of women; many men I’ve spoken to are also alienated by the overtly male culture of street.
That situation isn’t unique to street photography; it’s a legacy of history….”
“… For every man we celebrate and also shield from the effects of his misdeeds, there’s a woman who’s left the industry because of all the harassment and undermining they’ve faced. This isn’t a hypothetical. We know women who have. They’ve given up their dreams. They’ve given up on their careers. Their mental health suffers. Who knows how many important stories have gone untold because they’ve left the industry. The total loss from this toxic culture is incalculable….”
“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.”
The deaths of photographer Khadija Saye, her mother and all the others lost in the Grenfell Towerfire in North Kensington aka Ladbroke Grove, London, have affected us very deeply here at Untitled. They were killed by local and national government policies punishing those who are not wealthy or who are of the “wrong” background, social class or age.
Being born somehow wrong and how that intimately affects your life and career is something we both know well. Each of us has lived in and loved West and Central London, their people, their cultures, their places, their diversity, their creativity and their opportunities. The happy memories of our friends and experiences there have stayed with us ever since, the high points of our lives.
Ms Saye was on the verge of a major career breakthrough, having been selected to show her work in the Diaspora Pavilion at this year’s Venice Biennale. She was the student of a student of a student of mine from when I was a university art school photography teacher.
March has been declared Women’s History Month, celebrated in Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States, while International Women’s Day is celebrated on 8th March. In Sydney, International Women’s Day is commemorated with the Sydney International Women’s Day March and Rally in Hyde Park, held this year on Saturday 11th March between 10am and 12noon.
Female photographers at the Women’s March in Sydney, January 2017
I will be there this Saturday and attended the event last year, photographing the gathering and march from Hyde Park down Macquairie Street with my trusty Fujifilm Finepix X100. The day was hot and bright, while this Saturday may be dark, cold and wet.
Here are two highly relevant quotes from the article:
Why is it important to hire female photographers?
It’s just good journalism. We need to tell stories about diverse people from diverse perspectives—from a female perspective, people of color, and the LGBTQ[I] community. You make really big mistakes when you don’t have those voices in your newsroom.
How do you change that?
We do need to make a concerted effort to diversify the people who are telling stories in this industry. That is deeply important to informing the public. Because if our readership is diverse, and the people we are reporting on are diverse, then we as journalists need to be diverse. And right now that is not the case.
Meanwhile the underrepresentation of women continues in other areas of the arts according to Why Is Gender Still An Issue? in The Huffington Post.