Tuesday, February 5, 2013

An Astounding Thought on Working in a "Man's" Industry

After reading an article today on Richard Avedon’s past assistants and also seeing who the ten photographers were who created the new Dodge Ram 2013 Super Bowl Ad (which was quite fantastic) I realized something very interesting.
             I am in a male dominated business.
            I have never really thought about this before (well I have but that is mainly because I work with architects all the time and its rare but quite fantastic when I have a fellow woman on a shoot), but then I suddenly recalled a photography shoot I was on whilst interning at Nationwide Insurance. I was assisting Laura Sauer, one of the head photographers, and then there was also the make-up artist, Kelly, and I believe another assistant Jennifer was working on the shoot with us as well. After the shoot, the four of us all went out to lunch to celebrate a good shoot and it was brought up that this is rare….an all woman crew for a photography shoot. At the time I agreed and didn’t really think much of it since I hadn’t been in the industry very long. Now, however, I definitely see it.

            I recently Googled (as in, I Googled it this morning) famous female photographers and I was given a list of 19. NINETEEN! That’s it. All of those photographers I had heard of, but still….only 19?. Also, out of a list of 50 famous photographers, female photographers only made up a smidge of them.
            I feel as though I’m a stubborn enough person to make it in this industry. I have drive, determination and I’m relentless when I know I can achieve something and create something beautiful. However, so are so many other women, yet we don’t really hear about them, now do we? I mean, don’t get me wrong…we do hear about some, but definitely not like how we hear about male photographers.

            I graduated with an amazing class of women photographers. In fact, when I started taking the more advanced level photography classes and the tight knit group that became our graduating class (mixed in with the winter graduates) there were only five guys. If I remember correctly that is. My question is though, how many of these fantastic ladies are still working within the photography industry. I know off hand (from the ones I have stayed in touch with) that half of the eleven woman that I graduated with still are. But that is only half. Who knows who will be in that group let’s say five years down the line.
            In Resource, a publication for photo, video and lifestyle, there is an interesting little section in the Winter 2013 issue that says the following:
            In the first year of being in business, 60% of photographers give up their activity. Of the remaining 40%, another 25% will fail within the second year. The ones who make it are the remaining 15% who endure through the third year. That’s a staggering 85% turnover rate.”

            HOLY SHIT. That is crazy. What is it after that? I mean good photographers are few and far between, but that is an intense number.  I definitely don’t see myself giving up my love anytime soon, but boy that doesn’t give you much hope. Especially since I wonder what the statistic is for female photographers.

            Anyways, the whole point of this blog post is this: I don’t feel as though I could ever give this up. I feel as though I’m stubborn enough to succeed in this world photographing what I love and I also feel that there are countless other women who feel the same exact way. 

            Don’t give up.

            Keep being stubborn.

            Keep producing fantastic works of art.

My Very Best,


 This is the graduating photography class from the Columbus College of Art & Design in 2009

1 comment:

Lynn Donaldson said...

That's right...don't give up!

This ad stopped me in my tracks. I grew up on a Central MT wheat farm that my 78 year old dad & 77 year old mom still farm–my great-grandparents homesteaded it…it is just 30 miles from Geraldine, MT…where I recognize many of Markus’ (amazing!) shots.

But I wondered the same thing…no females? COME ON. I idolize every one of these guys on this list, but many of them are the go-to’s editors and agencies always seem to think of when in need of imagery of rural America, cowboys, etc. There are so many wonderful female photographers out there shooting this type of imagery, and they could have included at least one! I’m a nobody, but 99.9% of what I shoot is rural America. I know I’m not the only female out here doing it, and it would have nice to see at least one of my female colleagues on this list!