|, Uncategorized|Are Female Photographers Underrepresented?

Are Female Photographers Underrepresented?

By | 2017-09-17T16:03:10+00:00 August 26th, 2015|38 Comments

Me and my husband, Brian, at Skógafoss in Iceland earlier this year.

Last updated: September 2017

NoteSarah Morino, a fantastic landscape photographer based in the US, put together a list of over 200 women landscape photographers. She did not post this to share a “best of” list, but to create a go-to resource for companies and brands to realize that there are, in fact, a large amount of professional female landscape photographers in the world (and that list is still growing). I’ve had this article (below) in my queue for a few weeks, and after reading Sarah’s article I was motivated to dust it off and finally publish it. Here are my thoughts:

My husband, Brian Matiash, and I are both full-time self-employed photographers (or, to be more accurate, photo-educators). Yet we have completely separate businesses, separate websites, and we do a lot of our own individual travel. In fact, I’m certain that many people don’t even realize that we are married. I’ll be honest, that is intentional, more so on my part. I am very proud to be married to Brian, and it is not my intention to try and hide the fact that we are together. However, it has always been important to me that I maintain my own unique business presence and social identity. We are both very different photographers, writers, and designers, each with our own brand and style. My biggest fear is that I would be overlooked or “lumped together” with my husband, and thus become the “invisible” partner.

The reason that I overthink all of this is because I am a woman, and in our industry there seem to be a lot more men in the spotlight. But should the fact that I am female really matter in the world of photography? I would like to think that it should not, but the older and more experienced I become in this field, the more sensitive I become to how women are portrayed. I never considered myself to be ultra-feminist or a women’s rights activist by any means, and throughout my career thus far I have always felt that I had the same opportunities (if not more so) than my male counterparts. I also have rarely (but not never) experienced others treating me as less of as a professional because of my gender. And I hope that people are interested (or not interested) in my work because of me and my photography, not because I am a woman.

When I look at events that cater to high-profile photographers, such as conferences and expos, or sponsors for a particular brand of photography equipment, there seems to be a definite gender bias towards men. The off-balance ratio of women-to-men is likely not intentional, but the numbers don’t lie. Here is a short list of a some of the ambassador programs, along with a few conferences and their instructor/speaker ratio (as of August 2015):

  • Nikon Ambassadors (USA):
      • August 2015: 24% women (6 women, 19 men)
      • January 2017: 29% women (7 women, 17 men)
      • September 2017: 29% women (7 women, 17 men)
    • Canon Explorers of Light:
      • August 2015: 14% women (5 women, 29 men)
      • January 2017: 17% women (7 women, 34 men)
      • September 2017: 20% women (8 women, 32 men)
    • Sony Artisans (USA):
      • August 2015: 20% women (6 women, 24 men)
      • January 2017: 13% women (6 women, 42 men)
      • September 2017: 16% women (8 women, 43 men)
    • Fujifilm X Photographers:
      • August 2015 (Worldwide): 7% (27 women, 375 men)
      • January 2017
        • Canada: 7% women (2 women, 28 men)
        • USA: 18% women (4 women, 18 men)
      • September 2017
        • Canada: 9% women (3 women, 30 men)
        • US: 23% women (5 women, 17 men)
    • Olympus Pros:
      • August 2015: 25% women (3 women, 9 men)
      • January 2017: 25% women (3 women, 9 men)
      • September 2017: 17% women (2 women, 10 men)
    • f-stop (Global Icon):
      • August 2015: 10% women (3 women, 28 men)
      • January 2017: 17% women (7 women, 35 men)
      • September 2017: 9% women (19 women, 203 men)
    • f-stop (Local Hero):
      • August 2015: 4% women (6 women, 158 men)
      • September 2017: n/a
    • Lowepro Professionals:
      • August 2015: 25% women (2 women, 6 men)
      • January 2017: 33% women (4 women, 8 men)
      • September 2017: 30% women (3 women, 7 men)
    • G-Technology (G-Team):
      • August 2015: 13% women (3 women, 20 men)
      • January 2017: 17% (5 women, 24 men)
      • September 2017: 14% women (4 women, 25 men)
    • Photoshop World Instructors:
      • PSW 2015: 13% women (6 women, 41 men)
      • PSW 2017: 16% women (5 women, 26 men)
      • PSW 2018: 20% women (6 women, 23 men)
    • Gulf Photo Plus Instructors:
      • GPP2015: 21% women (3 women, 11 men)
      • GPP2017: 27% women (3 women, 8 men)
      • GPP 2018: (coming soon)
    • WPPI 2016 Speakers:
      • August 2015: 38% women (66 women, 109 men)
      • WPPI 2017: unknown (did not pull stats)
      • WPPI 2018: (coming soon)
    • Great Smokey Mountain Photography Summit (2015):
      • August 2015: 0% women (0 women, 13 men)
      • September 2017: 17% women (2 women, 10 men)
    • Team Induro:
      • August 2015: 13% women (1 woman, 7 men)
      • January 2017: 13% women (1 woman, 7 men)
      • September 2017: 13% women (1 woman, 7 men)
    • Formatt-Hitech Featured Photographers:
      • January 2017:
        • Signature Edition Artists: 0% Women (0 women, 4 men)
        • Featured Artists: 9% women (4 women, 41 men)
      • September 2017:
        • Signature Edition Artists: 0% Women (0 women, 4 men)
        • Featured Artists: 10% women (4 women, 38 men)

    It seems to me that there must be more women photographers in the world than what is represented above. And yes, I do realize that it’s not a full list (and I did my very best deciphering the genders of some foreign names that did not have a bio image of the photographer!). It would be great to put together a comprehensive database of all of the conferences and photography-related ambassador programs. If you have any you would like me to add to the list above, please let me know!

    Not all companies are doing a poor job of representing women in photography. There are in fact organizations that cater to women, such as Click’n’Moms (an online community and conference catered to, but not exclusively for, women), and WPPI (Wedding & Portrait Photographers International) was also more well-balanced than the rest. But it seems too often that if you’re not a part of the “good ‘ole boys club” with most other groups then it’s easy to get swept aside or unnoticed.

    So why are things so out of balance? Do men, in general, have more confidence or larger egos than women, so they find themselves in the spotlight more often? Do companies prefer to work with men instead of women? Do more women photographers choose to have children and raise a family, pulling them away from other opportunities (such as travel or full-time gigs)? What the heck is it!?!

    Look, I’m not advocating for a forced gender balance. I don’t believe that photographers should be included, excluded, or given an advantage or opportunity because of their gender. In fact, I would be very interested to see actual statistics and job info on the ratio of men-to-women in this field, and maybe that information is out there somewhere.

    I don’t think that there is an easy way to make things more balanced. There are just too many variables involved to really come to a conclusion or a solution if there even is such a thing. But these imbalances do affect women. My long rant about camera bags sheds light on one issue in regards to gear, and soon after I wrote that article, forward-thinking companies like fstop announced a female version of their wonderful adventure photography packs. It’s an uphill battle, and I suspect it might take a few more generations of photographers before the playing field is finally leveled.

     

About the Author:

My name is Nicole and I'm a photographer, author, & educator living in Lincoln, Nebraska, USA. When I'm not making photos I'm writing books and tutorials for my online store, Learn more about me and my story here.

38 Comments

  1. Lauri Novak Photography August 26, 2015 at 9:03 am - Reply

    It would be interesting to find out the statistics of men/women who attend the major photography conferences like WPPI, PSW etc.

    • Nicole S. Young August 26, 2015 at 12:38 pm - Reply

      I’m sure that the organizations have those numbers. It would make sense to at least balance the speakers with the ratio of the attendees, at least to some extent.

  2. Jerry Kelley August 26, 2015 at 9:21 am - Reply

    I belong to the PPA, PPANM and formerly to the VPPA. When I first joined the VPPA in 1964, there were over 300 members and of that number, only four were women photographers. As of 2010, more than half were women. I’m now living in New Mexico and at least half of our 80 members are women.

  3. Dimitry Makhanov August 26, 2015 at 10:23 am - Reply

    Very interesting article Nicole. It is something I’ve been noticing. I know lots of specialized industries struggle with this issue. For example last year there was a study done on companies in Silicon valley- they receive abysmal scores on their ratio.

    “Telle Whitney, president of the Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology, which tracks Silicon Valley opportunities for women, says the average ratio for female tech workers in Silicon Valley is 20-23%, but Google’s release of its statistics could lead the industry to do better.” Reference: http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/2014/05/29/silicon-valley-tech-diversity-hiring-women-minorities/9735713/

    It’s nuts. I think photography probably suffers from a similar malady.

    Even accounting for sheer employment numbers -Currently there are 46.9 % of women who are employed (over the age of 16) (http://www.bls.gov/cps/cpsaat11.pdf)Vs a 69.8 % of men. (http://www.bls.gov/cps/cpsaat03.htm) – you still don’t get an equal representation.

    Those numbers for ambassadors should be closer 30-40% to be representative of employment population statistics- at the minimum. (Not to say anything about actual equality.) This article should be picked up by someone major.

  4. Heidi Walker August 26, 2015 at 10:23 am - Reply

    Hi Nicole, Thanks for your thoughts and it’s something I’ve been noticing since college when I was 1 of 4 women in the Bio-Photography program (15 of us total). I have run into men at viewpoint where I’ve encountered some guy who treats me as if I’m a girl with a camera (I mean how cute is that? awwww). I’ve taught workshops where a male student has decided he was going to take over the course for me. These examples are few but I have noticed it. I do belong to a working photographers group that is more evenly split. But the one thing that really kind of gets me is that I have to go to the “men’s interest” magazine section to find any of the magazines I’m looking for (photoshop, photography, outdoors), as if women wouldn’t be interested in these?

  5. Deborah Sandidge August 26, 2015 at 10:35 am - Reply

    Excellent article Nicole, thanks for your sharing your perspective. I was disappointed to see that the newest summit, The Great Smokey Mountains Photography Summit, includes 13 men, and not one woman. I have the utmost respect and admiration for the male photographers who make up the team, however it falls short, and sends the wrong message not to have any female representation. There are many outstanding women photographers that would have been perfect to round out the team.

    • Bill Fortney September 1, 2015 at 5:40 am - Reply

      Deborah,
      You are certainly on my list as a wonderful shooter, not just a list of women great shooters, I’m gender neutral when it comes to shooters, if you can shoot, you can shoot, and you, my friend, can make images!!

  6. Sarah Marino August 26, 2015 at 11:41 am - Reply

    First, thank you for sharing a link to my post with your readers. I appreciate it! I also appreciate the sentiments of your post and fully agree with your approach to this topic. I do not want to be treated specially because I am a woman, I just want access to some of the same opportunities as my male counterparts. While most of the individual men I have met in my pursuit of landscape photography have been kind, interesting people, there are structural inequalities in this field and the numbers above make it obvious. The example that Deb mentioned is even more egregious and is the reason I wrote my post in the first place.

    I think the most simple reason for this dynamic is that companies and publications return to the same people over and over again, with those people suggesting only their circle of contacts for opportunities. Brands, sponsors, publications, event planners and others with a platform for sharing the work of photographers never take the time to move beyond these self-perpetuating circles to seek out a more representative group of photographers.

    I see all this changing – slowly, but still changing. I do not think I could not have written my post five years ago. Women are becoming far more vocal about all this. Our numbers are increasing and we are creating our own opportunities, which makes it possible to make a living in this field without seeking the permission of gatekeepers. Even with this progress, the disparities are still obvious in conference line-ups, publications, and other important venues and hopefully the examples you cite above will look really different – and more equal – in a few years.

    Thanks for a great post!

  7. alowlander August 26, 2015 at 1:18 pm - Reply

    Does it even matter?

  8. Varina Patel August 26, 2015 at 1:33 pm - Reply

    Great article, Nicole. I definitely know the feeling. I don’t want special treatment, but it’s incredibly frustrating to do enormous amounts of work next to my husband – and then have that work credited to him. It has happened – and continues to happen – time and again. I’ve been told that it’s really great that I have such an accomplished photographer available to help me learn photography (I started shooting long before he did), and I’ve even had someone stand up during one of my presentations to ask Jay (who was in the audience) a technical question that I could have answered easily. I try to keep my mouth shut and maintain my love of photography despite the frustration, because my comments are often dismissed as “feminism” or jealousy. But it’s not about either of those things. It’s about being recognized for what I’m doing in the same way that my husband is recognized for his work. Nothing more. Thanks for a great article!

    • Nicole S. Young August 26, 2015 at 2:41 pm - Reply

      I did not change my last name to “Matiash” for many of the experiences you listed above. I considered it, but my business and my identity are so wrapped around my name, and if I were to change that it would feel like I lost it. I’m not ultra feminist, and in fact my current last name is not my maiden name (so I’ll let you figure that one out, lol).

  9. Patricia Davidson August 26, 2015 at 2:06 pm - Reply

    You are so right on, Nicole. Thanks for posting this. Both your post and Sarah’s are very timely. I have seen some recent rants from a few male photographers mentioning they are sick of seeing this topic come up. Because they are male photographers they will never know what it is like to be a woman landscape or nature photographer. If they look at the numbers, as you have provided here, Nicole, they will see it is off balance. We definitely don’t want special treatment as Sarah has said, we just want to bring awareness that this is how it is today and it needs to be changed.

  10. Richard Wong August 26, 2015 at 2:08 pm - Reply

    Great article Nicole. Glad that this topic is being brought up as it’s about time. I feel for you too Varina. It must be really tough to keep quiet when disrespected like that.

    Disappointing to see the demographic breakdown of those companies. I also looked at Canon’s site and counted what appeared to be 33 Caucasians and 1 Asian (Jennifer Wu). Women are under-represented and so are other minority groups. Sad.

    • Varina Patel August 26, 2015 at 2:21 pm - Reply

      The lack of minority representation is something I’ve noticed too. I rarely see African American, Asian, or other minority groups speaking at conferences or events, or included as staff-pros for gear companies. There’s nothing wrong with being a white, male photographer – but it wouldn’t hurt to start calling out some of the best and the brightest who also happen to be minorities and/or women.

    • Nicole S. Young August 26, 2015 at 2:33 pm - Reply

      Yes, you are so very correct (about the minority groups). I didn’t mention that in my article but it is something that I did notice. Maybe a more in-depth poll is needed in the future, with more details like ethnicity, age, etc.

      • Richard Wong August 26, 2015 at 2:40 pm - Reply

        Right on Nicole. I hadn’t paid attention before reading your post to be honest so kudos again for writing this.

  11. J. SNK. August 26, 2015 at 2:33 pm - Reply

    Hi Nicole,

    As a hobbyist photographer, I’d say the survey sample may not represent the population of photographers completely. Your page and this article is being shared mostly by Female Landscape Photographers. So the survey is likely to be skewed to show more of us exist. But in my contact circle, there are many Female Wedding Photographers, Female Family Portrait Photographers but hardly any Landscape and Nature Photographers. Due to the nature of our work, even I am a mere hobbyist and not a full time pro as I don’t travel much( yet). If the survey were to include or at least be taken by Female photographers from diverse field, and/or photographers of both genders, it might give us a better picture of the demographics.

    It is not just gender, even minority groups like Asians/South East Asians are underrepresented. To give an example, Sarah’s list of 186( and counting) has just one Asian Indian and I had never even heard of her even though I myself am an Asian Indian and we live in the same geographical area. I hear of and see more male photographers than female.

    Is there a group or a club of Women Landscape and Nature Photographers? If there is, I’d like to join even though I am still a hobbyist. A reason why I have not taken a leap is I am not sure what options I have in terms of making money from my photography, specially in this man eat woman field. It would be nice to have a go to website or a group, where I am not pulled down for sounding too feminist.

    Along with Sarah’s article, this timely post is a reminder to non-professional female photographers like me that it’s about time to take a leap and keep the numbers growing. After all, there’s strength in numbers.

    Thanks for this write up.

    • Nicole S. Young August 26, 2015 at 8:17 pm - Reply

      I’m planning on doing a more in-depth survey in the future, and will try and spread the word through more neutral sites. The problem with surveys is that it’s not always an accurate representational sample, but it at least gives a little bit of insight into the industry.

  12. Richard Wong August 26, 2015 at 2:38 pm - Reply

    Agreed Varina. I have no issues with any particular demographic but when I see people out there with cameras they don’t look homogenous unlike these company websites.

  13. Jerry Kelley August 26, 2015 at 4:22 pm - Reply

    Here are some women photographers I have met resently or will meet in the next few months. I have recently attended workshops with two of them, Laurie Klein and Susan Burnstine. Four others have been invited to give 4 of the 8 monthly programs at the Enchanted Lens Camera Club I belong to here in Albuquerque, NM. All of these women are, in my opinion, great photographers. Their webstites: http://www.christinehauber.com/ http://globaladventure.us/ http://patriciagalaganphotography.com/ http://www.nevadawier.com/ http://www.susanburnstine.com/ http://www.LaurieKlein.com

    I’ve known Nevada Wier for 15 years and is one of the top travel photographers in the world. Please see their websites and I think you will be impressed!

  14. fullperspectivephotos August 26, 2015 at 5:56 pm - Reply

    Yep, I’m part of the last “unprotected” social group. I am fairly new at the whole photography thing. Still learning a lot. I have made it a point to try to find more women photographers to follow in social media. And yet the statistics on my G+ page shows that I follow 2 men to every woman. That’s with some effort at balance, but yet a disappointing effort.

    I remember when initially starting my presence in G+ that it was actually more difficult to locate women to follow locally in the Chicago Area compared to the men. Lauri Novak (Commenter number one, above) was one of the first I followed in my area.

    Now, that’s just my short lived social media experience and effort. (I’ll also say more than half of my feed does not declare a sex, btw.)

    Why do I seek balance? Let me just say this to summarize: Differences are springs for ideas, not boundaries that hold them back.

  15. Michael Nolen August 26, 2015 at 6:55 pm - Reply

    Before an informed response can be given, there are several questions needing answered: 1) what is the known ratio of female to male professional photographers and is that ratio reflected in a group’s membership?; if not, 2) does a particular group advertise well/is well known?; 3) Do women even bother to apply to a given group (or, are women underrepresented in a specific group because there is no interest in joining that group)? or 4) is a prospective female member’s photographic idiom appropriate for that group or is a woman just seeking membership to have membership. (this applies to men, too)

    At first glance, low female membership in ANY group tells me there is a lack of interest in that group’s remit. If that is not the case, then the good old boy network probably needs shaking up. This is not a simple question to answer due to the variables not discussed in this blog.

    • Nicole S. Young August 26, 2015 at 8:20 pm - Reply

      Yes, there are too many variables to truly know what the real numbers are (or why they are skewed if the ratio is in fact 50/50). I think what sparked this post for me most is seeing large companies (camera manufacturers) and the choices they make when it comes to their influencer and ambassador programs. Those don’t require membership of any kind, just discovery and talent.

  16. Christine Hauber August 27, 2015 at 9:38 am - Reply

    I did fill out the survey and found one important category missing…Fine Art Photography. It is a broader category because we don’t tend to focus in one particular area. So the closest to what I do would be Landscape and Nature but I really don’t feel I completely fit that category.

    As a fine art photographer, I do notice many more male photographers doing the outdoor shows but a somewhat more balance representation in the Gallery sector.

    When I conducted workshops with my male counterpart, we tended to have many, many more men taking the workshops than women.

    I also have attended many seminars and photography clubs where there are many more men in attendance. And now that I think about it, I do not believe I had a single female photography instructor when I got my degree in commercial photography.

    I have always felt that the higher male representation in our field is such because it is a technically and physically driven form of creativity. Most women I have met don’t enjoy that technical aspect and want to create beautiful images but hate getting caught up in the software, the equipment and even the social media marketing. Women tend to take a more quiet approach to their artwork and are not peacocks flaunting their feathers.

    Another thing I sometimes can pick up on is a general lack of the same kind of respect for women photographers (as well as other forms of art) Often it is believed that women have a husband or rich father that can support her “hobby”. It is infuriating because most female artists and photographers I know are supporting themselves and do not have anyone else to rely on. (this is from my experience in the fine art world)

    • Jerry Kelley August 27, 2015 at 12:06 pm - Reply

      Hi Christine, I mentioned your website in my post above. I’m a member of the Enchanted Lens Camera Club and I’m looking forward to seeing you and hearing your presentation next week. I love your work!

  17. Rick Lundh August 27, 2015 at 1:46 pm - Reply

    Hi Nicole! Have you considered that there are simply more men active in marketing themselves by a huge factor? Also, your math is wrong. Just looking at the Nikon Ambassadors… You list the women ration at 17%. If you divide 6 by 19, you get 31%. Given that there are 10 men to every woman photographer out there actively marketing themselves…31% is 300% more than there would be if you were going on numbers alone…meaning that women are not at all being “left out”

    • Nicole S. Young August 27, 2015 at 1:55 pm - Reply

      Thanks for catching that, I updated the number. BTW it’s 24% (not 31% like you wrote). There are 25 total ambassadors, and 19 of them are men.

  18. Rick Lundh August 27, 2015 at 2:02 pm - Reply

    Ahhh…. OK, my mistake. Thanks for clarifying :)

  19. Leanne Cole August 28, 2015 at 1:21 am - Reply

    I’ve been noticing exactly the same thing. It is amazing with so many women taking photos that very few of them get any kind of recognition. I had a company tell me recently that women photographers only did portraits and weddings, and I said what, no they don’t that there are a lot of women doing landscapes, macro architecture. He said they don’t get approached by women, and I said maybe that is because you website makes it look like women wouldn’t be welcomed.

    Take a lot at photography magazines and see which gender writes all the articles that aren’t about people. Who look at well know online places and do the same. There seems to this general impression that women don’t go out in the field to do landscape photography, or nature.

    I want to see this changed. We have started our own magazine that highlights women’s photography. We hope that we can show the industry that they need to take more notice.

    Great article, we need of these.

  20. Sharon Morris August 28, 2015 at 2:23 am - Reply

    Of course there is a misrepresentation. There always is (prostitution and modelling aside). Most of the world’s cooks are women, but the most famous chef’s? Men. Most the the world’s hairdressers are women, yet most of the famous hairdresser’s? Men. I could go on, but you get the point. Women are always struggling for representation despite having the numbers. That’s why feminism exists, it’s a challenge to ubiquitous structural inequality.

    • Cat Leedon September 21, 2015 at 12:57 pm - Reply

      Thank you for your comment. It makes me happy that someone else sees it as the sexism it is :) / :(

  21. Chuck Kimmerle August 28, 2015 at 2:44 pm - Reply

    To highlight a positive, the 2016 Moab Photography Symposium will include a speaker lineup which has has three women speakers out of seven overall. A very fair ratio.

  22. Nicky Jameson August 30, 2015 at 6:20 am - Reply

    Interesting article, survey and responses Nicole. If the number of female photographers represented in the industry is depressing, the numbers of black female photographers represented is even worse. And then there is the other side of the coin : to push our representation as female photographers or to be known as simply “photographers” in our genre. I know I prefer the latter. I think it’s an issue that isn’t going away anytime soon and if we want to change it we (as in female photographers and artists) are going to have to change it ourselves – with help of course. Perhaps a subject for a future discussion.

  23. Bill Fortney August 30, 2015 at 12:18 pm - Reply

    Nicole,
    Let me start by thanking you for moderating this discussion with such class, something that has not been done by many others! I have been shocked at the mean spirited rethoric that has been thrown around about this issue. Since the last thing listed in your list, was an event I am very involved in, please allow me to share something about that event.

    Wilson Reynolds is a highly respected photographer and TV show producer with a highly rated show on the National Geographic Channel. When Wilson bought and remodeled a lodge on Towsend Tennessee, he asked me how he could get the word out to photographers that he had created a great place to run photo workshops. I suggested that nature photography had long needed a Photoshop World “like” event and his facilities would support such a gathering. We got excited and started to plan the event.

    We started by making a list of photographers we knew who were highly respected, widely published and veterans of the seminar circuit. On the list was a woman, Laurie Excell, I tried to reach her and was unsuccessful, being told that she was at an undisclosed location on subbatical. We continued making our list and stopped when we had the required number of instructors. AT NO TIME DID WE EVER CONSIDER THAT THE TEAM SHOULD BE ANYTHING EXCEPT THE BEST PEOPLE WE COULD FIND! I do not see people as male, female, or any race, I see all photographers as photographers. I know and have great respect for many women in nature photography. I am married to a wonderful woman, the love of my life, for 46 years, I have a daughter, two daughter in laws, and three granddaughters, and I love them all! It could hardly be accurately suggested that I do not appreciate women, that is far from the truth.

    Wilson and I have been called a lot of unsavory things in the last few weeks, which I believe is all undeserved. Our goal was to offer a great photography opportunity and we must have done o.k. as the event is sold out almost two months in advance. This years group of over 200 shooters, and many are women, will have the opportunity to pick next years team!

    I simply want to see people gave a great time, learn and laugh together!

    Thanks for the opportunity to clarify our position!

    My best,

    Bill Fortney

    • Nicole S. Young August 31, 2015 at 12:37 pm - Reply

      Hi Bill, thank you so much for your response. I have the utmost amount of respect for you and your work and I was in no way trying to be overly biased towards you or any one group or organization. Overall, my article was to address the pattern of low ratios from several sources when it comes to women as influencers in the photography world.

      I also completely agree that choosing instructors should NOT be made based on someones gender or ethnicity. Skill, expertise, experience, and personality are all good reasons why photographers should be “on the stage”, but those traits are not only limited to men. I think the interesting thing from my perspective is that there are just so few women “in the spotlight” of photography, and the question I have is “why?”. There are obviously a lot of women photographers out there, yet the vast majority of those teaching photography at large events, or representing brands, are men.

  24. Bill Fortney September 1, 2015 at 4:02 am - Reply

    Your point is not only well taken, but unfortunately true! I can assure you that I will make a concerted effort to right the ship in events that I gave any influence, even if my influence is small!

    I have long remarked to my students that, in my opinion, many of my strongest attendees, in terms of artistic vision are the woman photographers I know, you included! A difficult fact of the “business” aspect of running events is name recognition. Sadly at the moment, men have had a much longer run in the limelite, however that is quickly changing! Given that, because of the Internet, we have seen more images published in the last two years than in the rest of the entire history of photography, the ratios are changing quickly as well they should!

    Every artist, should have the opportunity to see there work seen and appreciated. I seriously doubt that this pattern of male dominance of the field of nature photography has much breath left, and when it is an equal plying field we will all be better for it!

    My best,

    Bill

  25. Cat Leedon September 21, 2015 at 1:15 pm - Reply

    I’m just starting out in photography having studied sociology prior to the switch and this is something that I’ve really noticed. Articles, speakers, interviews, etc. are dominated by males. And while I can understand that there is a desire by many not to view it as sexism because they choose based on ‘merit’, availability, people they know, etc., etc., the fact that women are underrepresented is just straight up sexist. It’s exactly the same in photography as it is with politics, engineering, sciences, etc.

    And although I really really get that female photographers just want to be photographers, I think that a lot of women need to get past the fact and realise at this stage it’s necessary. I hate it, I resent it, but I realise that at this point in history I need to push myself forward in the industry as a female photographer. I need to do more. I need to make more calls, promote myself more, and do all the stuff the other female photographers above have noted.

    Inherent bias towards men will always prevail unless a conscious decision to focus on female presence is made. Any suggestions that women don’t want to be a part of the group (what woman doesn’t want to be at a Nikon/Canon/Sony/Fuji/Olympus conference?!?!? Seriously?!?) is simply an excuse so that no effort is put into changing the status quo. I also realise that it can be tough to get women to come to conferences (for a wide variety of reasons – this is covered really well for academia and would apply very similarly to photography), but there are ways around this that can create space for more women to be publicly vocal.

    Thank you Nicole for writing this article and adding to this increasingly surfacing issue.

  26. Hillary Sloss January 21, 2016 at 1:14 pm - Reply

    Hi Nicole and everyone, I am heartened by this important discussion! I was a photojournalist in the 80s and 90s when there were very few women photojournalists. Partly because of that experience, I started a photo camp for women with amazing teachers and classes — ALL WOMEN, very high caliber and generous. Please check out our offerings, just so you know about it!
    http://www.fireflyinstitute.com/
    I’m telling photographers of influence, in case you’d like to pass along the info to your community of women photographers. Thanks and keep on shining your light!

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