Little girls with dreams, become women with vision
“The fault lies not in our stars, our hormones, our menstrual cycles, or our empty internal spaces, but in our institutions and our education”. - Linda Nochlin, 1971
For those of you that know and for those of you that don't know, 8th of March is International Women's Day, the day for all to celebrate the social, economical, cultural and political achievements of women. Although this all may be given a specific day, we should embark everyday with the acknowledgment and understanding of women's great attributes to today's society, and so for this blog post, I have decided to share with you some of my favourite female photographers and what it is like to be a woman in photography.
Photography is quite a male-dominated industry, with them making up between 89%-96% of commercial photographers between the years of 2013-2017. As someone who is part of this industry, it honestly never crossed my mind about it being so male dominated, perhaps because I have only ever had support throughout my career so far and within my university class of 20 students, only about 4 of them were male. However, I did notice that the vast majority of photographer's who I studied were male and did think to myself "why?". I also had a strange encounter with the man serving me when I asked for a roll of 120mm black + white film, for which I had to firm my tone for him to take me seriously, but other than that, I have been so far "lucky" with my experience as a woman in the industry.
Fun fact! The two "pioneers" of photography were female, Anna Atkins and Julia Margaret Cameron in the 19th century. So, for today, let's forget the patriarchy and see the world through the lens of women!
Note: for copyright reasons, I won't physically be including the images from the photographers but will give a brief description of their work and provide links to their websites/ publications etc for you to explore more and conjure your own opinions.
Poulomi Basu, an award winning Indian photojournalist and advocate for women's rights. Her project, "Blood Speaks: A Ritual of Exile", is one of my favourite works from her, as she documents the illegal practice of "Chhaupadi" in Nepal. Chhaupadi is when menstruating women are basically banished to a shed, isolated from their family and daily life.
Hsin Wang, Taiwanese photographer now based in Portland, OR. Wang conveys her own personal stories through intimate and honest concepts, creating symbolic and metaphorical imagery. An exploration of relationships between other and oneself.
Nan Goldin, is an American photographer who predominantly explores themes of intimacy and LGBT+, as well as social issues such as the HIV crisis.
Rineke Dijkstra, a Dutch artist widely known for her portraiture. A body of work which sticks out to me the most is her project, "New Mothers" showcasing the rawness of women's bodies and emotions shortly after giving birth.
I could go on with an endless list of incredible female photographers, from past to contemporary, and from all walks of life. We live in a sad reality where everyday, woman have to enter an environment and are already expecting to be criticised solely on how they look and who they are. However, we are fortunate to live in a society where we have easy and constant access to resources to educate and understand each other and make the change that is long overdue.