Women Photographers: what the guide books aren’t telling you

Women Photographers: what the guide books aren't telling you

In a new series on Digital Camera World we speak with a number of women photographers working in various roles in the photographic industry – some as educators, some reviewers and others as jobbing pros. We ask each of them to tell us what it’s like being a photographer in a business that is largely dominated by men.

To start things off we will hear from two women photographers working closely with the Digital Camera World team – our head of testing, Angela Nicholson, and one of our top contributors, wedding and portrait photographer Kelly Weech. And we also hear from portrait photographer and trainer Annabel Williams, who tells us about her experiences starting out.

Women Photographers: what the guide books aren't telling you

Images by Amy Davies

What are the differences between men and women photographers?

Although there are lots of very well known and respected women photographers (Annie Leibovitz, Margaret Bourke-White, Jane Bown, Cindy Sherman and Nan Goldin to name just a few), photography is often still seen as a predominantly male pastime and profession.

In fact if you flip through the average guide book looking for technical advice or inspiration you could quite quickly conclude that it is exclusively male, with women only appearing here and there as subjects.

Perhaps it is the perceived technical nature of photography that has in the past given in more appeal to men than women?

The historical uneven distribution of wealth between the sexes has also surely had a part to play.

Fortunately, things seem to be changing these days with more and more women becoming interested in the medium.

Manufacturers also seem to have woken up to the fact that women want something a bit more than a pretty pink camera that looks nice at parties.

They want something that will enable them to replicate some of the great ‘life-style’ images that we see all around us.

Smaller cameras, such as the raft of new compact system models are also likely to appeal because they suit the smaller female hand and are lighter and easier to carry.

Technological advances also make it increasingly easy to take high-quality images without having to get bogged down in technicalities.

That’s not to say that women can’t cope with such things, or don’t want to get embroiled in mechanics of photography, but few people – men or women – set out with this as their intention.

The interest develops over time and nothing boosts the interest more than a few successful images.

In this article we hear from a group of women photographers who tell us about their experiences, how they got to where they are today and how they feel about being involved in such as male-dominated world.

PAGE 1: What are the differences between men and women photographers?
PAGE 2: Angela Nicholson, Digital Camera World’s head of testing
PAGE 3: Kelly Weech, wedding and portrait photographer
PAGE 4: Annabel Williams, portrait photographer and trainer


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