EP 012: Who takes the best photos?
Let’s talk about sex, baby …. Mez and Toby deep dive into a discussion about gender in photography that takes more twists and turns than an Agatha Christie novel. Speaking of novel, even coronavirus gets a mention as photojournalism, fashion, wedding and all other manner of photographic genres go under the biggest gender-bias microscope in the southern hemisphere.
An interesting article came across the studio desk which got us thinking about gender roles in photography, particularly Photojournalism and how it shapes our view of the world. The article, “Good” photographs – The white male gaze and how we privilege ways of seeing, by Savannah Dodd & Andrew Jackson quotes..
“…since the 1919 first appearance of photography within The Illustrated Daily News, it has historically been the white, cis, heterosexual male gaze which has authored and shaped how the world has been reflected back to itself via photojournalism.”
World Press Photo reports that of 5,202 photographers from more than 100 countries over a four-year period,
- more than one half participating photographers are Caucasian/White
- 80% are men
- Two-thirds are between the age of 30 and 49
- 1% — that’s 52 in total — of participating photographers classify themselves as Black.
You can read the full article here
A look at popular Photojournalism through World Press
World Press Photo secretary Stephen Mayes said during his 2009 keynote speech – “ Over represented: commercial sex, suffering black folk, Muslim women in veils, same sex couples kissing, holding hands
– Under represented: middle class, affluent drug users, real sex, personal sex, black culture and expanded vision of black life outside Africa.
[…] What is journalism if it doesn’t inform but merely repeats and affirms what we already know?”
“Every year, the jury is astonished by the repetition of subjects and the lack of variety in the coverage” … “Your best chance of winning is if you are american, male and white shooting black and white”
“The overwhelming impression from the vast volume of images is that photojournalism (as a format for interpreting the world) is trying to be relevant by copying itself rather than by observing the world.”
You can watch the full speech here or below.
Being a woman is a great advantage…
Lynsey Addario, American photojournalist, has often stated that she sees being a woman as a distinct advantage in places like Afghanistan, where she spent a lot of time shooting during the Taliban days and subsequent conflict there.
“As a woman I have access to both women and men … I’m often underestimated, in a way that my male colleagues are not.”
Her book, It’s What I Do, is a great read.
Sean Brokenshire tells of a situation overseas where a woman who was fleeing for her life was able to disclose what had happened to her to a female worker.
Verónica G. Cárdenas
“After a life-changing car accident, Verónica G. Cárdenas left her job and chased her life passion of becoming a photographer. Challenged with building her portfolio, she embarked on a project to photograph the journey that many migrants use to travel from Honduras to the United States. Verónica’s photos portray asylum seekers more humanely, helping her audience to see the more subtle aspects of their lives. She challenges the photography industry to employ more diversity behind the lens.”
Click Click Bang Bang: A Photography Podcast is written and produced by Meredith Schofield and Toby Forage.
Edited by Toby Forage
Music by Simon Figliuzzi
Brand design by dingdingding.co
Thanks also to Sean Brokenshire and Bandit for their help in the studio.