Did you know that 70% of photography students are classed as female and non-binary, yet only 15% of them are working in the professional photography field? On top of that, these professionals are reportedly earning 40% less than their male counterparts.
The 70:15:40 Project UK has been launched by MPB, having partnered with leading global and UK organizations that believe change is urgently required within our industry, and highlighting the importance of redressing the barriers and challenges faced by women in photography and videography.
• These are the best camera bags for women
Excellent news for UK-based, non-male photographers, as an exclusive competition has been launched that will see four winners exhibiting their work, and receiving 12 months of phenomenal bursary support worth £40,000 ($49,500 / AU$73,200 approximately) that will cover all areas of being a freelance photographer - and includes funding, training, access to camera equipment, plus studio spaces and hire.
Launched by MPB, the largest global platform for used photography gear, the 70:15:40 Project UK has been created with industry support from the SheClicks and UKBFTOG communities, online platform Peerspace, the Royal Photographic Society and even the Centre for British Photography.
Four photographers from the UK – two professionals (classed as people who earn at least 80% of their income through photography or videography) and two other enthusiast or emerging photographers or videographers, will receive the chance to create a full photo series or short film on the theme of ‘change’, that will then be featured in an exhibition at the Centre for British Photography in London.
The reasoning behind this new competition and bursary is an extremely important one, and the initiative’s name (the 70:15:40 Project) is reflective of the shocking facts and statistics that show even today, in 2023, only 15% of professional photographers are classed as women (with an even lower percentage of trans and non-binary photographers) - and are typically earning a much lower wage than men in the same field doing the same job.
• For more statistics like these, see: This is not an opinion piece, this is fact – gender & photography edition
The big question of course is why? But I think we all know the answer. Here at DCW, we believe that the playing field should always be level for photographers, regardless of their gender identity, to have the same chances to compete for exposure and job opportunities that don't discriminate on wage or workload.
Despite what some might believe, non-male photographers are still treated very unfairly in the wider industry, smaller workplaces, and even by other photographers a lot of the time too! The same shoots that male photographers would often pursue can also be more of a risk for female, trans, or non-binary photographers.
It's important not to disregard the facts and personal experiences of others, and remember that just because something isn't happening to you; doesn't mean that it's not happening at all - that's called privilege.
The selected winners of the competition will be provided with everything they might need to create this proposed photo series or short film, including the resources mentioned above but in specific details:
Access to cameras, lenses, and accessories worth £25,000 from MPB, plus £2,500 in credit to reserve production space of their choice on Peerspace, membership and workshops worth £1,500 from the Royal Photographic Society, an exhibition at the Centre for British Photography in London worth £5,000, one-to-one mentorship worth £2,000 from Tracy Marshall-Grant at the Centre for British Photography, not to mention extensive promotion.
If this weren't enough, the four winners will also be in receipt of £5,000 to spend as they see fit in supporting and furthering their photographic or videography practice, as well as Zoom workshops on how to navigate themselves on social media, pricing themselves as a photographer, and finding their workflow.
To apply for this amazing opportunity, you'll need to specify in an application process what you would produce for your take on the theme of ‘change’ in a series or short film, and show the judges a selection of your past imagery.
The 70:15:40 Project UK is open to all women, trans and non-binary people residing in the United Kingdom. The deadline to apply is April 14 2023.
• You might also be interested in these 10 queer photographers you need to follow on Instagram, as well as this collection of contemporary queer photography, and discover the Photo campaign which aims to change how women are pictured handling money.
• Take a look at this Photo protest: Female and non-binary photographers tackle climate change, as well as the Top 100 women in photography: RPS names its Hundred Heroines