The editor of the renowned New York Times photography blog, James Estrin, has recently retraced in an article the female presence in photojournalism.
Starting from the Second World War, he states that “it wasn’t until the early 1970s that many female photographers started making their marks” up to the point where “in the last few years a generation of female photographers has emerged, raising children while continuing to take overseas assignments.”
The exhaustive article Women in Photography: a Story Still Being Written also says: “In 1983, about 20% of photographers were women. Today, about 20% of photojournalists are women and the gender balance across photographic professions in general is pretty well even.”
We can say on some terms that
women are taking over photography
The symptoms of this transformation are clear as seen through:
- various specific websites, among these Firecracker, a platform dedicated to supporting european women photographers;
- the birth of female collectives, including the first all female photo collective of the Middle East: Rawiya. One of the founders, Laura Boushnak, will tell about her experience during the summer 2015 Photo-Berlin workshop;
- dedicated awards: The Inge Morath Award supported by the Magnum Foundation and the renowned Canon Female Photojournalist Award delivered during Visa pour l’image, the most important photojournalism festival.
- Furthermore, there are various exhibitions and even dedicated sections in photography biennials including “Women in War” in the Daegu Photography Biennale of South Korea.
In conclusion, as Dawn Oosterhoff says in the previously mentioned article:
“The story of women in photography has not yet reached its happy ending, but the plot is progressing on an optimistic note. Women photographers are still dramatically under-represented in the art world.
Women photojournalists are rare and we’ve only begun to think about the portrayal of women and women’s perspectives in photography”.
Despite the fact that female presence in the most important photo agencies is limited to around 5–25%, there are awards like the Portraits section of the WPP that prove how the gender percentage of the winners is already 50/50. Moreover, the last edition of the ambitious Carmignac Photojournalism Award has been won, for the first time, by a women photographer: Newsha Tavakolian.
If we consider awards as a benchmark for transformation, we can say that although the market is slowly adapting, there are significant and evident changes under way.
We’ll see what happens!
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