Worth a look: Women in Photography and the conversation about sexism in editorial photography

WomeninPhoto.com - screenshot 9 December 2013
WomeninPhoto.com – screenshot 9 December 2013

It would seem that the biggest magazines with the most hiring power hire mostly male photographers. –Daniel Shea

In September, Daniel Shea provoked quite the conversation with a post on his tumblr called “On Sexism in Editorial Photography.” We reblogged the original post on our tumblr but due to travel and assignment work never got around to a roundup on the main blog here. One great result of the conversation is Women In Photo, which collects the online conversation about these issues and presents a list of American and international women photographers that any editor shouldn’t hesitate to hire for assignment work. It’s a work in progress, with a few names I like left out (Melissa Golden, Melissa Lyttle, Alixandra Fazzina, Vivian Sassen, Sandy Kim, Ariel Zambelich, Megan Spelman, Narelle Autio, Krisanne Johnson, Carolyn Drake, Nadia Shira Cohen, Sim Chi Yin, Anastasia Taylor Lind, Jessica Dimmock, Stephanie Sinclair, Lynsey Addario), but it’s a great resource so far.

Shea pointed out that the biggest magazines have mostly female editors and hire mostly male photographers and presented a few observations and thoughts about why this situations has arisen, none of which he claims to be exhaustive or anything more than his own experience: editors say they don’t know female photographers who fit their magazine’s style; men might be more aggressive in pursuing assignment work; collectives and loose organizations of photographers don’t do a good job of including women; men have an easier time assisting due to sexism and climbing the ranks that way. The whole post is worth a read. Another particularly troubling statistic that saw recently that likely has a profound affect: 64% of women journalists responding to a survey said they had experienced “intimidation, threats, or abuse” in the field or in the office. That study was conducted by the International Women’s Media Foundation.

Women In Photography also collects much of the rest of the conversation started by Shea and discussion about the conversation. There are responses by editors, photographers, and industry publications. Here’s a few I liked:

Be sure to take a look at National Geographic’s Women of Vision exhibit and Proof’s recent post about Alexandra Boulat.

Firecracker does a great job finding and highlighting the work of European women photographers (featured on dvafoto previously), and offers an annual grant. There’s also the Women Photojournalists of Washington and their annual contest.

Buzzfeed also had a wonderful post a little while back: Women Are Covering The Hell Out Of The Syria War — So Why Haven’t You Noticed?

Also, a similar conversation went around photojournalism circles in 2011, during which we had a guest post on gender and photojournalism by Melissa Golden.

And check out the International Women’s Media Foundation.

While we’re on this subject, I imagine that we could have a very similar conversation about racial and ethnic diversity in the photo industry…

Worth a look: Daniel Shea’s Chicago Fire for Fader

Daniel Shea - Fader - Chicago Fire
Daniel Shea – Fader – Chicago Fire

Fader magazine has just published new work by Daniel Shea focusing on the effects of gun violence on Chicago’s youth. It’s a beautiful and sensitive approach to a difficult topic.

The essay, Chicago Fire, grew out of previous work Shea did for the magazine and is the centerpiece for Fader’s photo issue this year. As photo editor Geordie Wood explains on his tumblr, the work was shot over 4 weeks and aims to show what life is like for youth in Chicago’s South Side. The magazine will devote 16 pages to the photos in print, and more photos will be published on Fader’s website this week. There’s also an interview with longtime Chicago crime reporter Alex Kotlowitz about violence in the city over the past 20 years.

Be sure to check out Shea’s portfolio and tumblr.

Flak Photo’s 100 Portraits 100 Photographers

Andy Adams, publisher of the ever-popular and intriguing website FlakPhoto.com, has recently teamed up with curator and Indie Photobook Library creator Larissa Leclair to create an exhibition at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington DC as part of FotoWeek DC 2010. They selected 100 portraits by 100 photographers who have been featured on Flak Photo, and the entire exhibition is available on his website.

Of course there is plenty of diversity and plenty of work to debate with friends, but on the whole I think it is an interesting selection of contemporary portrait photography. I’m also happy to see some photographers whose work I’ve been admiring lately, including Molly Landreth (who we interviewed earlier this year), Daniel Shea, Phillip Toledano, Rafal Milach, Shen Wei and Mikhail Subotzky.