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16-09-2012
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Pitzeria's Avatar
 
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Why are there so few female fashion photographers?
Who are really successfull? What do you think? Without further thinking, of course Ellen van Unwerth come into my mind. And Camilla Akrans. But apart from them? I don't know!

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16-09-2012
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Good discussion topic, so I'm moving this the Fashion In Depth, where we have our best discussions about these kind of things.

I've never really thought about it ... but you are right ... there are not a ton of female fashion photographers.

I've worked with a few and I love their aesthetic. They often seem to be more focused on the fashion than the model, more on beauty and drama than sexuality. But then, these are average working photographers ... not the top ones.

But even then .... I think about Terry Richardson's work, Patrick Demarchelier, Helmut Newton. All very sexualized at times ... all men. So does that mean that sex sells? Well, we know that. Could this explain why there are more men .... who knows?

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16-09-2012
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There are some really famous female photographers. Annie Leibovitz, Ellen von Unwerth, Corinne Day (who died a few years ago, she's most known for being the first photographer to photograph Kate Moss). But you are right, men do dominate fashion. I think it's because of the different ways they work. They seem to have a different kind of aesthetic. Steven Meisel, Helmut Newton, Richardson (if you can even call him a photographer rather than a pornographer) have all used sex in their work. So maybe it does sell. But male photographers have many different ways of working. Especially Meisel, who can do any kind of fashion shoot you could imagine.

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16-09-2012
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Men dominate in a lot of fields ... Non ?!
Cinema, Art, Litterature, Politics and even ... Couturiers ...
I remember someone saying that at the last Cannes Festival there was NO movie directed by women ...
But yet, there are more women in editors, more women who are scripts and isn't the First Lady the one really ruling the country ? I always thought that ... Women are the hidden forces ... ahah.

It certainly has to do with the fact that before the 20th century (for Western countries, more or less) women were not working... But I'm sure that with the 1980-2000s born generations things will change and get equal ...

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16-09-2012
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Well, of course sex sells (not always, though), but I find it interesting to compare the work of Ellen von Unwerth to Terry Richardson. EVO's photography has a lot of women in sexual situations and expressing their sexuality, there's always been a sense of mischief and fun in her work. Whereas in Terry's work the models are just presented as big blow up dolls there to please the "audience" (and him).

However, one male photographer who I think came the closest to portraying female sexuality in a way that was more "feminine" was Herb Ritts.

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17-09-2012
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Among the really big ones - Annie Leibovitz is about portraits and fairy tales very straight on, Deborah Turbeville and Sarah Moon are both very romantic/distant, EVU is a bit one dimensional....and then there used to be Andrea Blanche, who I think had something fantastic, elegant and subtly edgy going. Until she seems to have been dropped.

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17-09-2012
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I guess fashion photography is mostly focused on women wearing clothes, shoes, makeup ... perhaps men (straight and gay) find this a more compelling subject than women do? Has this come up in interviews of well-known female fashion photographers? (I would imagine it has ...)

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17-09-2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BerlinRocks View Post
Men dominate in a lot of fields ... Non ?!
Cinema, Art, Litterature, Politics and even ... Couturiers ...
Michelin star chefs? :p

To skip the gender discussion, I think fashion photography is in fact not as bad as a lot of other artistic/creative fields. Just compare it with other genres of photography or fashion photography 20-30 years ago.

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18-09-2012
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i dunno....i'm sure as in almost everything still to this day,quite sadly,except perhaps for modelling,men do outweigh the women in this industry but there a lot of female photogs that i adore. anuschka blommers(who's one half of a duo with niels schumm),inez van lamsweerde,katja rahlwes,and yes,the late corinne day was phenomenal. the former model annie ok is also known to be a photographer(among her many disciplines).....hannelore knuts is also now a photographer. tina winkhaus. yelena yemchuk. elfie semotan who was a muse and prominent fixture for helmut lang. bettina komenda. marleen daniels does the documentation photography during the collection seasons. the photographer du jour for rodarte autumn de wilde is very good as well

personally,no discussion about women and photography can go on without mentioning diane arbus. even though fashion wasn't a strict medium for her,she was the ultimate pioneer....and original. she led the way. and her influence even in fashion can be felt.


Last edited by Scott; 18-09-2012 at 07:27 AM.
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18-09-2012
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Lara Stone said in an interview that she doesnt like to work with female photographers (other than Inez) because they dont have a clear image of what they want for the photoshoot.
I think there are good female photographers Inez, Camilla, Emma...but I think the men eye is somehow better. More intimist...

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18-09-2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmrmartinho View Post
Lara Stone said in an interview that she doesnt like to work with female photographers (other than Inez) because they dont have a clear image of what they want for the photoshoot.
I think there are good female photographers Inez, Camilla, Emma...but I think the men eye is somehow better. More intimist...
I interpret this to mean that the male photographer knows exactly who he wants the woman/model to be, and perhaps the female photographer wants to see what develops toward the theme rather than dictating exactly what is going to happen. In that case the male photographer would have very specific notes for the model. That is far from having a superior eye.

I am not a photographer, but I feel somewhat this way about meetings. I'm not opposed to an agenda, but I'm also not opposed to departing from the agenda either if some good brainstorming occurs. If you discover the whole point of the meeting is invalid, why continue to talk about it? Many men would disagree violently with this viewpoint ... which I see as utterly foolish. Perhaps this is analogous to what Lara is pointing up. And perhaps the female photographers would like her to take some ownership of the process--I don't know.

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18-09-2012
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i think males dominate almost every field of work, i'm a female and i'm not saying i'm sexist but male are "forced" to take a profession more seriously than female because they are demanded to make the living for the family.
i know some very talented female friends that was really good with what they're doing and was ambitious but then in the end, it's harder for them to keep their relationship with their spouses because the stigma of the world is they're the one who have to be in the house more than the males, if they have children they are the ones who have to take care of them and i think it's a consensus of men and women's though that we judge female harder than male when it comes to having a child and one's too busy with their work.
also that often males are intimidated by women's success.

i often see cases where female's career are going up and even can be faster than male when they're younger but a lot of cases happen too where they goes down as they get older because they might want to focus more on family things.
some are lucky to have spouses who understand and supported their career but some are not and they choose to focus on building a family

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18-09-2012
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^ Sounds like things are a little behind the times there in summer land.

I think the question here is, why is the number of top female fashion photographers approximately equal to the number of female US Supreme Court justices, although the field is quite a bit less exclusive, not requiring appointment by the most powerful person in the world? Particularly considering that women dominate the magazine world, which does a lot of the hiring of said fashion photographers?

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Last edited by fashionista-ta; 18-09-2012 at 09:45 PM.
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18-09-2012
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^That's a brilliant point fashionista-ta, it seems to me that this issue doesn't just apply to female fashion photographers but to women in almost all careers. For all the progress we have made (and we have made lot's) there is still much to be done. How can a field, fashion, which is even typically thought as "for women," have so few women photographers? It's actually rather mind-boggling.

I'm not sure I have that answer at the moment, but I what I do know is that the way men and women view women is different. And thus, the way they portray women in photographs is often going to be very different. The images often seen in fashion magazines show female models through the lens of a male gaze. And this perception really can alter the way readers view themselves and other women. It's just so highly sexualized. Not that it's wrong to be sexy, it's just that I've noticed when a female photographer takes a sexy picture, the model is usually in control of her own identity and sexuality. And I'm not sure I always get that feeling from work by male photographers.

As other's have mentioned, Inez van Lamsweerde, Corrine Day, Deborah Turbeville, all are/were fantastic female photographers! And I don't think anyone's mentioned Cass Bird's name yet, she's becoming recognized for her fashion photography (her work for The New York Time's Style magazine is really great).

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Last edited by YoninahAliza; 18-09-2012 at 10:17 PM.
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19-09-2012
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While summer land is probably a little behind the times, there is still some truth in it. While successful women are not shunned where I live, I do think that all the other things women must do such as being social, taking care of others and - yes - spending much more time on their looks than the average straight man - these things lead to that women are seldom top achievers.

When you are obsessed with your work, you become less of a woman. And no matter what people say, it takes a great deal of sacrifice, focus and obsession to become truly excellent at anything. No matter who you are.

And not many women are prepared to put work before their social lives. IMO, that is the crucial difference between men and women - in general.

I also think women are less inclined than men to give credit to other women....I've noticed many a time that a good idea coming from a man gets much more applause in a community of women than the same idea coming from a woman. It's sort of cute, really, but probably that type of competitive nature, again on a social level rather than an objective level, is part of what hold women back.


Last edited by iluvjeisa; 19-09-2012 at 01:11 AM.
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