Today, B&H began a new web series, "Women of Influence," featuring women who are accomplished photographers and filmmakers, featuring interviews that explore their stories and feature their brilliant work.
Today marked the release of the first two episodes in the series, with new ones coming out every Wednesday (except April 12) through May 10.
2011 Nature’s Best/Smithsonian Conservation Photographer of the Year Cristina Mittermeier uses her background as a marine biologist to focus on conservation issues, her work appearing everywhere from magazines to academic journals. Her mission extends beyond photography, having founded the International League of Conservation Photographers and sitting on the boards of several other organizations, as well as being an active public speaker and writer.
Los Angeles Times Staff Photographer Barbara Davidson counts both multiple Pulitzer Prizes and a National Emmy among her accolades, her work bringing attention to important humanitarian issues. I particularly appreciated her perspective on her creative process:
I photograph people in absolute crises at the lowest points in their lives. It's so imperative for me to respect their dignity. That's number one; the photograph is a second thought. Number one, I connect with them through eyes, and I get a sense of whether it's ok for me to be there or not. I preserve the dignity of the people I'm photographing.
Check out the full series here.
A shame it's simply not a series of photographers of influence where men and women can be part of it. When I see something like this I have little interest in following through because you then right away have to wonder if the people being highlighted are worthy or if it's just because of sex.
Constantly highlighting sex and race only encourages and perpetuates sexism and racism.
I would say multiple Pulitzers and a Smithsonian Award make them more than worthy of highlighting, but I encourage you to watch the episodes and see their work for yourself.
Hopefully worthy of highlighting as photographers, not because they are women.
I totally agree with that sentiment. It's regressive, not progressive.
Your comments, I believe, can really resonate to men and women alike. It's really important in this ever shifting social environment of ours to always question why things are the way they are. Your point is a valid one, no doubt. But would it be valid to a female to happens to realize that as fair as she wants her world to be, being female is a challenge on it's own. Then maybe add color to that mix. Does everyone know what that's like, to find equal opportunity being (for example) an indigenous female with an accent. So what, right? If you're good, you're good. Simple... Sometimes stereotypes or stigmas overwhelm even the strongest of us. But by simply knowing about someone you feel you can relate to, mentally, that can give you enough hope to shine, even a little. A show like this, and many others, strive for something just that simple. To lift those felt marginalized somehow. Because it in fact happens, daily... everywhere... all the time.
Sexism and racism cannot be morally and logically addressed by resorting to the same. The goal should be equal opportunity, not equal representation, as I said in another recent article promoting women.
We can stop addressing this as an issue, when it is no longer an issue. Yesterday was International Women's Day. It's there for a reason.
You address sexism or racism by ensuring equal opportunities and punishing those who interfere in that, NOT by becoming sexist and racist yourself. NOT by playing the victim card. NOT by constantly screaming out I'm a woman or I'm black. NOT by listening to people that profit and benefit from telling women and black people that they are victims.
Work harder than men? Hogwash. Do the job to your best of ability and lose the sexist, racist and victim chips on your shoulder and you will do just fine.
Ooooh that's such an adorable point of view. In a perfect world maybe. But unless someone has been on the wrong side of that stick, that doesn't work. The problem is some people are totally unaware they're doing it. If you saw "Hidden Figures"you see Katherine Johnson having to run essentially a half mile to use a rest room while carrying all her flight data. No one else had to do that. So because the culture believed it was "normal", she had to go off on an entire room of men saying she's a black woman and that she deserves to be treated equally. The recipients of her rant were totally clueless as to why she had to go through all these lengths. With all she had to do, I see that has having to "work harder" than her counterparts. Now I don't know if that was a factual component of her life but never-the-less, there are other aspects that are similar. Dorothy Vaughan wasn't given the the title and pay of a supervisor even though she did "the job". She had to hijack the IBM mainframe and taught herself how to use it because no one was going to train her. Again, this could be for theatrical reasons but we know it happens. "Doing the job" often times is simply not enough because those who are supposed to be watching are oblivious because they are so ingrained in their culture that they simply don't know. So sometimes shouting is needed to establish equal opportunities and punish. As minorities, we were often taught back in the day to "keep your head down, do the job and things will work." Trust me that is often "hogwash" as you call it. Ask guys like Doug Williams and Joe Gilliam about all that. It took the shouting of others in the streets to change the culture so they could get a shot. They clearly had the talent but they weren't going to raise a fuss "externally" because they didn't want to lose their jobs. But you know they felt it.
In this instance I'm not concerned about the world. My comments have to with the situation in America, and in America there is no widespread and institutional sexism and racism from white people to non-white people. There is, unfortunately, widespread sexism from women and racism from black people. Funny how that works.
"The problem is some people are totally unaware they're doing it."
That's awfully convenient for alleged victims to be able to see offense from others that only they can see.
"If you saw "Hidden Figures...."
This isn't 1961!
They could have named the series "American Photographerettes"...
I have been a daily reader of this website for over a year now. I am very inspired both by the quality of photographers that share their work on this site, as well as the top-quality articles posted here on a daily basis. But I have never commented before, that is until this post. I applaud this post, and truly believe it is needed in this instance. All along while I have enjoyed the articles and this community, I have noticed how incredibly "male" the people who comment here are, as well as the people who share their work here... This site - and many other quality photography websites - can use more females both featured as authors of articles, as well as contributing members of their community. I applaud this article, and look forward to more.
I have never heard a single male photographer denigrate a female photographer simply because she was female. Quite the contrary actually.
There have been many female photographers who are celebrated on the merits of their contribution (Annie Lebowitz a prime example). It's when you start to force things with affirmative action that resentment begins its germination. In my opinion there is no justification for pushing that sort of thing. Not in photography anyway.
"I have noticed how incredibly "male" the people who comment here are, as well as the people who share their work here... "
What the heck does that mean??
"This site - and many other quality photography websites - can use more females both featured as authors of articles, as well as contributing members of their community. I applaud this article, and look forward to more"
No, this site and many other quality photography sites can always use more competent photographers and writers. Sex in outcome should be irrelevant for those that are supposedly fighting for true equality.
I love that we are coming to a point that people want equality... NOT the people that are being celebrated, but the people that feel "it's not right that someone should be celebrated because of race and/or gender" That's exactly what women and minorities have been saying for years... but it took the acknowledgment of the minority for 'everyone' to get that. good morning :)
What I see is women and minorities wanting to be treated special in their so-called quest for equality. What I see is women and minorities screaming louder than ever that they are victims when in most cases they are not. What is see is women and minorities being sexist and racist. What I see is women and minorities being their worst enemy.
Wow... well I mean you can just look at the comment section. If it is at all a representation of the community, it seems that it is very much full of men. I have worked in this business for a long time and what I can tell you is that there is definitely a slanted perspective. If this were a series that just celebrated women of influence in photography, but did not call it that, would you be offended? Because I have seen a ton of series like that for white males. Not that this is truly relevant. What is most important, is loving and inspiring people, but in that, we have to recognize that there are very talented people that are neglected. Women and minorities have been grossly mistreated throughout history. This is not special treatment, this is the way things have always been done except the gender/race/creed is different now. Why does this bother you?
"If this were a series that just celebrated women of influence in photography, but did not call it that, would you be offended?"
It would still be the same. Why should anyone be celebrated in their job because of their sex?
"Because I have seen a ton of series like that for white males. Not that this is truly relevant."
No you haven't. You only think you have.
"What is most important, is loving and inspiring people, but in that, we have to recognize that there are very talented people that are neglected."
Sorry, I don't see the sexism or racism that you describe. Disparate representation by sex and race does not on its own equal sexism and racism. Representation in any job and career field should be allowed to develop naturally, not through social engineering and political correctness.
"Women and minorities have been grossly mistreated throughout history."
They sure have, but the key word you mentioned is "history." In America, at least, there is no significant sexism from men towards women and from the majority against minorities. What there is a significant amount of, unfortunately, is sexism from women towards men and racism from minorities toward the majority, mostly black against white. This kind of activity has been instigated by left wing benefactors and troublemakers and the madness and lie of political correctness that they practice.
"This is not special treatment, this is the way things have always been done except the gender/race/creed is different now. Why does this bother you?"
Oh, so you then accept what I just said previously? Good of you to notice.
Why does it bother me? Because sexism and racism is wrong no matter who practices it. You can' argue against sexism and racism while at the same time saying it's OK because now other people are practicing it. That is not logical. The question you should be asking is why it doesn't bother you?
This Guy^^^^ Can't Be Serious
The response from a reasonable crowd would wonder why you are doubting his sincerity, and more importantly would wonder why you are not asking him?
Quite proud that Barbara Davidson is a Concordia University (Montreal, Canada) graduate....
I always enjoy reading comments from White Males telling a marginalized group of people how they should act, feel, and what they should get over. How nice it must be to not walk in their shoes but judge how worn they've become and tell them they should work harder at getting a new pair....Rather than praising then success they've accomplished despite their obstacles. I hope I do see the day when women and black people (As some of you pointed out) get recognized solely for their achievements and not their race or sex. Until then you'll keep getting reminded that there are other groups of people that are need of the recognition and representation for their contributions to the world. Be part of the solution...rather than commenting from the peanut gallery.
Now Let's get back to Photography!
"I always enjoy reading comments from White Males telling a marginalized group of people how they should act, feel, and what they should get over."
Bloody hell. Is there some kind of new alliance now between women and black people against "White Males"?
Do you really think only white people feel as I do?
Why would you dismiss non-racist advice based on someone's skin color?
"How nice it must be to not walk in their shoes but judge how worn they've become and tell them they should work harder at getting a new pair..."
Kind of hard to wear down a pair of shoes if they're not being used too much.
"Rather than praising the success they've accomplished despite their obstacles."
Sorry, I don't praise adults for doing the right and common sense things, and being mediocre. I praise adults for doing exceptional things, and race and sex are irrelevant.
"I hope I do see the day when women and black people (As some of you pointed out) get recognized solely for their achievements and not their race or sex."
That day is here, now, especially if women and black people stop playing the victim and cease becoming and being sexist and racist themselves.
"Until then you'll keep getting reminded that there are other groups of people that are need of the recognition and representation for their contributions to the world."
Wanting women and black people to be recognized and represented because they are women and because they are black is sexism and racism.
Fair recognition is based on merit only. Fair representation is based on the natural consequence of equal opportunities only.
How many more twice elected black presidents are you waiting for before you decide "then" is now?
"Be part of the solution...rather than commenting from the peanut gallery."
Resorting to and being sexist and racist is only going to generate more of the same. After all, you think men are going to be more willing to work with women that don pink hats, trash them repeatedly and take days off from work to protest against them? A lot of good and innocent men today are afraid of working with women because they rightly fear being accused of sexism, or worse.
A great and relevant scene from a great movie. Try and resist the temptation in assuming that the taboo word uttered in this scene is directed at you.