The Photo show: Women in Photography

The Birmingham Photo show was a great experience. Lots of things (and people)purple_hair

to see. It was hard to figure out who was visiting and who was modeling…

I took part in the “Women in Photography conference. The audience was 98% female. There were four speakers. Bridget Coaker, picture editor of the Guardian, facilitated. Anna Fox, a documentary photographer and professor at University of Creative Arts, opened the presentation with a slideshow of interviews with emerging photographers from around the world. This is part of work she is preparing for a two day conference at Tate Modern on 6 and 7 November 2015. These are interesting young people. She was followed by Camilla Brown talking about successful woman photographers. She pointed out that very little has changed statistically since the Gorilla Girls protested in New York in 1985 about the small percentage of work by women and people of colour (5%) which was displayed. They repeated the survey in 2012 and the percentage was 4%……..

Natasha Caruana then discussed the use of social media to promote work. I cannot imagine how she has time to photograph and lecture with her frenetic use of social media. She is exhibiting her project The Married Man in Arles this year. Should be well worth a visit. She was quite irate that the first thing she saw as she entered the arena was ridiculous wig wearing female models! I didn’t alltogether agree with her as the opportunity to photograph models, using extraordinary studio lighting, is not something most normal photographers get to do every day. To keep the gender balance I photographed two models:

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Louise Clements, clementsco founder of FORMAT the international photography festival in Derby, spoke about her own experiences working, very often as the only woman on a panel, as a juror and curator.

The discussion was opened to a Q&A session. The audience was as interesting as the speakers. One conflict photographer talked about working in war zones as a woman. Another talked about her experiences in Egypt during the Arab Spring. A motorbike racing photographer talked about having to be ‘one of the lads’. Others discussed how to get their work recognised. A woman documenting the effects of poverty on women in the UK talked about crashing into steel doors when it came to getting her work ‘out there’.

The conclusion seems to be that women are expected to make delicate images for their own amusement as very few take them or their work seriously……