An opinion piece in the NY Daily News recently caused quite a stir after referring to street photography as “gender-based violence.” The author shares her encounters with street photographers, two of which ended in her calling the police. She even proposes a law that would “protect women against all nonconsensual, exploitative photography and videography.” As you can imagine, her opinion wasn’t appreciated by street photographers or anyone who appreciates this photography genre.
Adidas has started a new campaign that centers around authenticity. Their “Icons of Tomorrow” promote the brand, and these are the people who are “using their creativity to motivate a better tomorrow.” Among these icons who promote diversity is a Swedish photographer Arvida Byström, who caused a lot of stir because of, believe it or not – hairy legs.
After releasing her photo for the Adidas campaign, she received plenty of negative comments because of the unshaved legs. But it doesn’t end here, and she claims she even received rape threats.
It’s Father’s Day today and accordingly, my email inbox has been deluged with gift ideas for fathers. Even if they are photographically inclined (you might not believe how many press releases I receive that aren’t even in my preferred ball-park) the chances are that they won’t present me with many opportunities to feature them. I was surprised then when something did catch my eye.
The press release in question concerned the results of a survey conducted by the photo-printing company Photobox that focused on the habits of picture-taking within families. Admittedly it was only a small survey, conducted on 2,000 people, but it threw up some interesting results—namely that almost two thirds of fathers (61%) believe that they take better photos than their other halves, and that 68% of mothers prefer that their families’ fathers take the photos. For me, this was especially noteworthy because it vindicated the conclusion of a discussion that I’ve been having since at least 2011.
The question that has been under discussion: ‘Where are all the women photographers?’ The conclusion? That girls being photographed by their fathers has a lot to do with it.
These are incredibly broad statements, with some far-reaching implications, so perhaps we should unpick them a little.
Men photographers…listen up, you need to be more like women.
Women photographers…listen up, you need to be more like men.
Men need to be in touch with their feminine side in order to be better photographers and women need to stop being so feminine in order to be better photographers.
Am I the only one that feels this way of thinking is whacked? I mean, one taco short of a combination plate kind of whacked?
If you hear this advice coming out of any speaker/coach/workshop-giver’s mouth…run. Run far. Run fast. Don’t look back. Just pull a Gump and “Run, Forrest, Run!”
And it troubles me, because when you are standing in front of a client with a camera in your hand, you aren’t a male photographer or a female photographer…you are simply a photographer. Or at least, that’s how it should be.
The first one I ever saw was “Chicks Who Click.” It was years ago and the photography industry was predominately male. I didn’t think too much of it, but wondered (aloud at times) the wisdom of, not only creating a gender biased photography group, but giving it a cutesy name like “Chicks Who Click.” By naming it that, they downplayed the seriousness and professionalism of their chosen profession. They demoted themselves from “professional photographers” to “middle school sleep-over photography club.” I envisioned a bedroom of giggling girls, braiding each other’s hair, talking about boys, and occasionally using some derivative of the word “passion” and “photography” in the same sentence.
A few years later, I was at a national convention and met a woman who handed me her business card. On it, was the name of a photography group she’d founded – “Women Only Workshops, She’fari Photographers.” Whaaaa? Yep, she was very proud of the group and said business couldn’t be better. Of course, I, possessing the wrong genitalia, was not allowed to attend any of her workshops or go on any “She’faris” so I’m not quite sure WHY she even bothered to give me her business card unless it was just to rub it in. She seemed very nice, so I doubt she meant it as an insult though, but still. Helloooo? Common Sense???