Why are there so few female fashion photographers?

Discussion in 'Fashion... In Depth' started by Zeitgeist, Sep 16, 2012.

  1. fashionista-ta

    fashionista-ta Well-Known Member

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    ^ Maybe there's a corporate contract ...

    I noticed Camilla Akrans did the cover shoot for the new US Bazaar with Kate Hudson. What stood out to me in the photos I've seen so far is that Kate's personality comes through extremely well. The photos seem to be about her, rather than anything else.
     
  2. BerlinRocks

    BerlinRocks New Member

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    I'm surprised nobody speaks of children and pregnancy ...
    In other fields, this is why a man would be preferred to a woman, and this is why, too, for instance in France - at least, women earn 20% less than men for the same position say the statistics ...
    We live (at least in western and Christian countries) in a patriarchal society. Women really started to work in the very late 19th century (for the most industrial countries), and until my grand-mother generation, women were the ones taking care of children and the social life. They could have hobbies, but these were not taken seriously.
    In arts, women started to get reconnaissance in the mid 20th century - even though there were Marie Curie, Camille Claudel and Colette, those were exceptions -, in the postwar period. I'm not a specialist of this, but who can give me more than 10 names of female photographers before 1945 ? Moreover, from its invention til the first three decades of the 20th century, photography was not considered art and was, too, a very technical medium, big materials to carry etc. and the women were the ones in front of the camera mostly, not behind the lens ... These are only cliches, probably ... And there's probably some women photographers, amateurs, we don't know yet about ... But, I'm not sure that in Europe, there were a lot of those women.

    So women don't lack of talent, for sure ... There's just no big and huge and tons of them before the generation born btw late 1960s and now ...
    And I think it's true that their subject and complexity of work is very different from the men's ones ... Probably, because they don't want to repeat the machist thematics of sex ...
    Why do people hire men to shoot campaign ? Is it because they are better ? I doubt ... It's because these two current generations of photographers working (Testino, Teller, Mondino, Richardson etc.) were not yet generations where women were yet dominant ...

    And perhaps, because women start a career in photography, but then they have children and a family and take care of them ... So they focus less on their careers. You know there are still a lot of pressure on women who do not have babies and family ... I know very few women who focused on their careers over their "womanly expectations" ... Those manage to be better than men, most of the time ...
     
  3. BerlinRocks

    BerlinRocks New Member

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  4. Les_Sucettes

    Les_Sucettes Well-Known Member

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    Actually if you think that because male chefs are better than women chefs because their restaurants have more Michelin stars you really do not know how to read statistics.

    Women for a world of reasons are under represented almost everywhere, except in the jobs traditionally female, there is no such thing as equality between man and women in the work place or in society in general, so inferring someone's talent in a certain field by what gender is most predominant in that area is laughable.
    At the end of the day, a lot of women grow to be extremely successful in all areas, so clearly we are not doomed by genetics, in art photography Nan Goldin, Sally Mann and Cindy Sherman can command huge amounts. Actually Cindy Sherman till quite recently was the author of the most expensive photograph ever sold.
    I have no illusions, there will never be true equality, the fact we are the ones that have to carry the babies and all the changes that implies will always makes us different, and it's a positive thing,it should be seen as a privilege not a hindrance. But women, if they wish can play the exactly same game as men, if you are convinced that they "fail" in certain areas simply because they happen to have the same sex, besides the fact that's an extremely misogynistic view to hold, you are in for some surprises in life.
     
  5. Lena

    Lena etre soi-meme

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    ^ just adding Diane Arbus in your list
     
  6. Les_Sucettes

    Les_Sucettes Well-Known Member

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    How could i forget Diane Arbus. Thank you.:flower:
     
  7. fashionista-ta

    fashionista-ta Well-Known Member

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    There's a fascinating article in the current US Elle that features the study I mentioned and the impact on lifetime earnings of accepting the first (just the very first, mind you) salary offered to you rather than negotiating. Now I'm not sure those projections are completely valid as I know they've been erased in my case. But it's quite interesting to think that willingness to negotiate could by itself explain the wage gap. The article also raises the possibility that the patriarchy is at its last gasp.

    I should also note that negotiation also applies to assignments, not just pay. If you think about it, we are in the workplace, we have the education and not just that, the majority of education. We have the skills. We hold up half the sky. All we have to do now is ask for what we deserve.

    Now doesn't anyone want to discuss the Kate Hudson by Camille Akrans cover I mentioned? ;)
     
  8. fashionista-ta

    fashionista-ta Well-Known Member

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    justjared

    This is the Camilla Akrans subscriber cover. (The newsstand cover is somewhat bland--hadn't seen it till I went looking for this.)
     

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    #48 fashionista-ta, Sep 24, 2012
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  9. YoninahAliza

    YoninahAliza New Member

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    You are so right about Camilla Akran's cover for US Bazaar. Kate's personality come's through far more then the idea of her selling something. Often I feel like magazine cover's are created in a way which objectifies the covergirl. But here I feel like it's more about Kate then about anything else. It's a really good subscriber cover.

    I was thinking about other magazine's that feature content by women photographers or have a lot of women contributors in general and I have to give props to Lula magazine. Not only was it founded by a women, Leith Clark, but often has lot's of female photographers. Women like Ellen von Unwerth (shot one of the s/s 2012 covers), Autumn De Wilde, Yelena Yemchuk, and Laura Sciacovelli have all contributed to recent issues. And Lula is a magazine that feels like it's by women and for women. It really tries to remove the male gaze from photography and to be a wonderful magazine that celebrates women.
     
  10. Lena

    Lena etre soi-meme

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    Yelena Yemchuk's recent work for Vogue Italia, is monumental
    she has a style all of her own

    men and women understand clothes, fashion and it's relation to the female body in different ways
    hence they photograph in a different way

    there are certain kinds of shoot that we need a woman photographer
    others that a woman photographer just could not do right

    the issue here is not if/why there are not too many women photographers around
    but why those women photographers fo not get more exposure

    maybe because their esthetic view is a bit unconventional?
    truth is that even the most 'forward' publications,
    are based on a pseudo-unconventional esthetics

    things are changing though, expressing the urgent need for fresh fashion esthetics
    that will change the 'sexual DNA' of the fashion imagery.

    as a matter of fact, i believe we are already experiencing the rise of the female fashion photographer
     
  11. fashionista-ta

    fashionista-ta Well-Known Member

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    ^ Can you give an example of a fashion shoot that 'a woman photographer just could not do right?'
     
  12. iluvjeisa

    iluvjeisa clever ain't wise

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    ^Well, when I think about the same question I have to say that I have never seen a female photographer do anything remotely similar to what Newton did. And lord knows there are enough male photographers who try.

    And what is it in that gaze? The cold, dissecting eye - held as a protective shield against the reverence that he cannot get away from?

    I guess there is a valuable perspective there, in photographing something that is so different from yourself.
     
  13. Lena

    Lena etre soi-meme

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    fashionista-ta, iluvjeisa just replied to your question in the best way possible

    a guy will always pull it out better 'slutty/camp/sexy/hardcore' it's the 'distance'

    of course there are few women photographers i know who can do 'slutty' very well
    but usually when we need 'camp' we give the job to a guy
     
  14. SugarMe

    SugarMe Active Member

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    Just wanted to add that Anja Rubik's first issue of 25 (well, first of the reissue) was photographed entirely by women, and was an issue steeped in eroticism. I haven't actually spent time looking through the magazine but I thought the issue could be valuable for a discussion like this. Photographers included Yelena Yemchuk, Paola Kudacki, Liz Collins, Camilla Akrans, Inez van Lamsweerde (though Vinoodh is also listed)... the issue seemed like a pretty good representation of the women working in high fashion now.
     
  15. Les_Sucettes

    Les_Sucettes Well-Known Member

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    Artistic vision has no gender. You have absolutely no way of knowing a guy would pull better the "Newton" style. Other photographers are not "Newton", this is the same as saying that male photographers are all a bit closer to sharing his aesthetic because they happened to be born with a penis. The choice of subject is personal, and gender will play in that artistic vision if the artists choses so, sometimes it can even become the sole focus of some artists' work, but the artist always has the final choice, it's not a limitation imposed by biology. That's exactly what separates the good artists from the amateurs.
    It's not a question of "pulling out better" is a question of simply not wanting to, and that goes for female and male photographers. Artists are all individuals, the way they look at their subjects male or female is unique to them. Some may feel a closer connection to their own sex other may feel total detachment and distance. There are no prescriptions. Dividing artists in gender lines is an extremely reductive view.
     
  16. iluvjeisa

    iluvjeisa clever ain't wise

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    ^Well, I for one haven't seen a female photographer produce anything remotely Newton-like. And I have spent about ten years studying fashion photography. Obviously, this is merely anecdotal and subjective.

    And you are quite, quite wrong saying what I said is the same thing as saying that "all men are closer to sharing Newton's aesthetic". I haven't said anything remotely like that.

    That said, I really can't understand how you can say - completely a priori - that artistic vision has no gender. There could be general, and statistically significant, trends. How could you possibly rule that out?

    Unfortunately, also, we do not decide over ourselves. We are essential animals with some extra levels of consciousness. To say we have absolute control over everything and that there is no way a bit of biology could seep into the art....well, it seems dogmatic.
     
    #56 iluvjeisa, Sep 27, 2012
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  17. Shelton123

    Shelton123 Member

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    Paola Kudacki and Ellen von Unwerth are in fact known for their sexy/semi-erotic work more than anything else and almost all of their editorials have that element, just as much as Mert and Marcus or Mario Sorrenti do. So I don't think there's really any difference in talent for different things, the lack of women in any field ultimately comes down to the patriarchy and society's tendency to force women into roles and not let them into jobs that they are willing and qualified to do just because there's a man who might be willing and might be almost as qualified.

    The only reason artistic visions could possibly have gender is because society forces certain ideals on women (and this could include artistic standpoints and aesthetic perferences) rather than letting them do whatever they want, like society does with men. It's not a genetic difference, it's a societal one, and the societal one is on its way, even if by baby steps, to being eradicated.
     
    #57 Shelton123, Sep 27, 2012
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  18. fashionista-ta

    fashionista-ta Well-Known Member

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    My own feeling on this is that it's quite dangerous to say a man or a woman cannot do anything, because there are always outliers. I find the outsider's view fascinating ... I'm thinking of Camilla Paglia, and how effectively she questions a lot of our assumptions about what's really going on with men and women. Of course, what's possible and what's likely are two different things.

    I think it's pretty clear that there is such a thing as a 'male' and a 'female' viewpoint, but I'm not sure it's clear that only people of one gender can execute each.

    For example, I know of a woman whose first partner could be described as a very feminine man, and whose second partner could be described as a very masculine woman. Because they were different genders, they could be perceived as polar opposites. They could also be perceived as very close on a single continuum.

    I don't think it serves any real purpose to deny the role of biology in our lives. Hormones are incredibly powerful and effective mood-altering chemicals that shape each of our lives.

    I don't believe there are any limits (or more than just a few) on what an individual man or woman can do--IOW, find the right outlier of either gender and almost anything can happen. I do think that there are some limits to what I can do, and that my gender manifestation has some relationship to those limits. I will never be a mathematical genius, and I will never be a top fashion photographer. But another woman could be.
     
  19. Lyuba

    Lyuba New Member

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    That's a complicated social question but the answer is elementary and brief: we are still living in the patriarchal world according to the age-old gender stereotypes such as "photographing is a mostly male occupation in line with a neuclear physics" (may be a bit exaggeration). Most of fashion-conscious women prefer to catwalk or to design clothes rather than to deal with complicated technical equipment, that's why IMO there are so many eminent female fashion designers and so few photographers. Additionally, I experienced that many female models and women in the large (and modelling for all that is traditionally considered to be a female sphere) favor a male photographer thinking they are more credible advisers to look more alluring for men, supposedly that "man knows what men love"
     
  20. fashionista-ta

    fashionista-ta Well-Known Member

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    Just read that Anne Deniau, the only photographer allowed backstage at McQueen from '97-2010, has just published 400 previously unpublished photos in the memoir Love Looks Not with the Eyes: Thirteen Years with Lee Alexander McQueen. Love the title ...
     

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