The Creative’s Female Future, Alpha Female: It’s Important

The Creative’s Female Future, Alpha Female: It’s Important

Last year, Sony’s Alpha Female made its debut, and the result was a talent-quake. The thousands of qualified applicants proved something. All those individuals and companies who (I AM sure you know who) explained away the lack of female creatives in their organizations or departments by saying: "we just can’t seem to find qualified female talent" simply weren’t looking. Because it’s there, in spades. 
Sony seemed to know this before, but now it’s clear as day. So, Alpha Female continues, growing in ambition, recognition, and support.

Sony Alpha Females at a Glance

From eye level, Sony Alpha Female is a women-centric competition. In its first year, they awarded five winners with varying styles of photography, from Erin Hogue with action sports to Colette Peri with a background in stop motion. In 2018, there was a total of five winners. This year, they are expanding the competition to not only include photographers and videographers, but also cinematographers and filmmakers. In total, there will be six winners: four photographers/videographers and two cinematographers/filmmakers.

Winners of Sony’s Alpha Female receive three key benefits. To start, they get $21,000. This money is not only to help the winner pursue a dream project, but also to remove any barriers or stresses that may be standing in their way — things like student loans or even their monthly rent. They want the winners to have the ability to fully jump in head first to pursue their dreams and passions as creators. The second prize falls in line with the first and is an additional $5,000 to spend on any gear the winners may need or want as well as the ability to borrow any additional gear they may need. 

The third prize though is something you simply can't buy: something that up and coming creators could only dream of having and may not even know the full benefit of having: a one-on-one mentorship with an established Alpha Female for six months — artists like Sarah France, Taylor Reese, and Brooke Shaden. With this mentorship, plus the support of Sony, the winner receives extensive education and once in a lifetime networking opportunities. It’s an opportunity that will change the path of their careers for the bettera, a fast track to the top of their field and the opening of doors they never knew could be reached.  

Sony Alpha Females Under the Surface 

Aside from winning money, gear, and mentorship, Sony is taking charge and bringing light to a well-known industry problem. Women are consistently underrepresented in the photo world, not only within brand-specific ambassador programs, but within the teaching/education community as well. I have personally seen entire conferences without a single female speaker, and even Nikon ran into trouble when they had 32 brand ambassadors test the D850 and didn't include a single woman.    

What the program is doing is recognizing the problem and taking steps to fix it, growing in ambition every cycle. Sony is all in. Through the process of entering alone, they are encouraging women to step outside of their comfort zones and start creating, encouraging them to identify what they want to do and try to come up with a rough game plan of how they can do just that. And for those who don't win, Sony has plans to keep up and find ways to support many of you. 

This sets an example for others in the industry by saying: "yes, there is a problem, and we need to act." They are blazing a trail for other women creators and showing what is possible and encouraging young female creatives to follow their dreams, highlighting that women are valued and that they can have space within an industry that historically leaves them in the shadows. 

Some Insight From Past Winners

Nitashia Johnson

The Sony Alpha Female program is what the industry needs. It's supportive of so many passionate women. The program was an eye-opener for me. It came at just the right time, right when my mind was starting to reject my dreams. The girls I met while part of the program, Danielle Da Silva, Megan Allen, Erin Hogue, and Colette Peri, are all so amazing and I love them. I also had a mentor I love very much. To be honest, I've cried from happiness because she comforted a void I had since I was a small child. MeRa Koh is an angel in my life and I'm really happy this program aligned with me her. She is my friend for life.

Being a Sony Alpha Female to me means believing in yourself and going after your dreams, no matter what.

Danielle Da Silva

Sony Alpha Female is a community, it’s a sisterhood, and it’s dream nourishment. I feel honored to have been given this opportunity and am excited to say that the feature documentary project entitled "Reckoning with the Wendigo" that I submitted for Sony Alpha Female will be screened for the first time Oct. 9 in Toronto alongside the 10th anniversary of Photographers Without Borders!

Colette Peri

The Sony Alpha Female program is about community. As creators, we go through ups and downs, successes and failures, and big learning curves. The most valuable thing we can have in this industry is a community: peers to cheer us on, resources to help when work gets challenging, and most importantly, the feeling of belonging. Sony Alpha Females empower each other, help each other, and stick together.

Don't Hesitate  

This competition is currently getting close to the final submission date. But there is still time. I encourage every female creator reading this to enter, even if you have that silent but deadly voice in the back of your head telling you that you can’t win. Because even if you don’t receive one of the coveted spots, you will learn so much about who you are and what you want to do through the process. You will acknowledge what it is you want to do and be better for the experience.   

Sony Alpha Female Entry Page

Jason Vinson's picture

Jason Vinson is a wedding and portrait photographer for Vinson Images based out of Bentonville, Arkansas. Ranked one of the Top 100 Wedding photographers in the World, he has a passion for educating and sharing his craft.

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If you want to be equal, you shouldn't need special programs.

If you understood inequality you wouldn't say stupid shit like what you said.

I was just from filming an interview of a lady chef who worked her way up from a dish washer to now an executive chef in a huge hotel brand. I actually like what she said about "women seeking equality". She didn't want to be treated special in anyway because she's a woman. She wanted to be appreciated for her talents as a chef like any other male chef.

Apparently, most companies hire significant number of women because the world demands it even though some women ends up as PR mascots. And for her, that is not equality at all. Women now are being given jobs not because they deserve it, it's just because they are "women".

"Equality is having a fair and square rights, privileges, and opportunities with the opposite sex and not seeking special treatments and excluding the other to such."

An interesting opinion second hand from one person. The issue is super complex, it's not just about hiring a certain number of women. Society's expectations on gender shape young minds, boys and girls are encouraged and discouraged from taking up certain interests. And even if they have openminded parents, the wider world still programs young minds with thousands of subliminal 'normative' messages per day. If young girls aren't encouraged the same as young boys to be engineers, scientists and footballers, then when it comes to the point in life when young people choose careers there will be drastically fewer of the discouraged gender.

The classic statement from someone who is yet to understand the problem.

I'll take a stab at it.

Most identity issues like this stem form a lack of representation.

The first paragraph of this article
"Last year, Sony’s Alpha Female made its debut, and the result was a talent-quake. The thousands of qualified applicants proved something. All those individuals and companies who (I AM sure you know who) explained away the lack of female creatives in their organizations or departments by saying: "we just can’t seem to find qualified female talent" simply weren’t looking. Because it’s there, in spades. Sony seemed to know this before, but now it’s clear as day. So, Alpha Female continues, growing in ambition, recognition, and support."

Sony is addressing this with their competition to highlight female photographers. It shines a light on talent that apparently isn't as easily noticed.

Later in the article the Jason calls out Nikon with this,
"I have personally seen entire conferences without a single female speaker, and even Nikon ran into trouble when they had 32 brand ambassadors test the D850 and didn't include a single woman."

Again, we see that there's some sort of lack of representation in the industry when one of the largest camera brands didn't include any women. Personally, I don't think this was done in a malicious attempt to say "No women allowed", but the optics don't look good when part of the market (female photographers) don't see themselves reflected back by the industry they are trying to participate in.

I can certainly understand the desire to have peers that you relate to. I can also understand the positive effect there might be for women entering the industry if they see others finding success and recognition.

Again I don't want to assume that Nikon ambassadors were chosen because they were men but because the industry is made up of so many different backgrounds it's hard to ignore the possibility that there was some unconscious bias at work. Statistically speaking, that shouldn't have happened right?

They don't want equality. They want a slice of everything men have without giving up any of the pies they already have.

You never hear women complaining about the shortage of male teachers, male HR officers, etc. because when they're winning, they're happy.

Apparently, women are so fragile they can't even enter a photography competition unless it especially says "for women" on the front. Because that's equality.

They're "underrepresented" despite absolutely no bars whatsoever to women buying, using and owning a camera.

Art schools are happy to offer places galore if they need training and are unable to use YouTube.

But still, women need special treatment. Because they're equal. Even if they can't demonstrate this on their own merits.

What's most pathetic is it's always some sad bloke handing over his balls on a plate to celebrate another arena in which there is no level playing field.

Stop slurping down the soy. Equality means equality. It means that women have no handicaps in front of them to buy a camera and enter competitions. That is equality. And they have it and they should have it.

Inequality is where you create special circumstances for one group which are denied to another. Special competitions for women mean that somehow being female is a handicap in photography when this is patently untrue.

Equality means the freedom to compete. Not guaranteed wins because you're not competing strongly enough. This isn't boxing or the 100 meters, there are no inbuilt advantages to possessing a penis in photography.

"You never hear women complaining about the shortage of male teachers"

YOU don't hear about it because YOU don't take a moment to look. You're being ignorant:

Here's a leading scholar in education (A woman! Can you imagine?!) coordinating a multi-year study (with four other women!) in the UK to "identify the obstacles that stand in the way of greater gender diversity; to learn about possible solutions (including those developed overseas); and to use this knowledge to produce practical resources that can help the UK diversify this vital part of the education sector."

Here's another woman-a reporter this time- writing in Edutopia that "Stereotypes and low pay keep men away from teaching. But that Y chromosome can make a huge difference in the classroom."

And another for good measure (also written by a woman):

You should really stop and think before you rage-type such nonsense...

No rage typing, that's you blossom.

The first study makes no mention of men and appears to be designed to promote women in education not men.

Finding two examples of women speaking up in umm... well, a decade? That's not "women complaining" that's two women whispering at the back. Try harder. Much harder.

Oh sweetheart, you can't be that fucking stupid, can you? You think the project doesn't mention men and appears designed to promote women in education, not men? You obviously didn't (or can't) comprehend the big words on the page. Here are the project's aims, directly from the link I posted:

1. To explore the extent and nature of efforts to recruit and support male practitioners, and their impact
2. To consider how the value of men’s presence is attributed, and what theories (explicit and implicit) are articulated to support, refute or undermine (consciously or otherwise) the recruitment of men
3. To identify barriers to male recruitment; map men’s routes into ECE; understand their motivations and strategies they may have used, if required, to overcome barriers; and identify what support is needed to enable male employees to flourish and remain in the ECE profession
4. Based on the evidence above, to develop a workable and explicit theoretical framework to rationalise the value of including men within the ECE workforce; and create accessible training and resources to support and strengthen efforts to make the sector more gender-diverse and gender-sensitive.

And I posted 3 (not 2: looks like you can't count or read!) examples that took me all of 20 seconds on Google to find and refute your bullshit claim that "You never hear women complaining about the shortage of male teachers."

Now, let's see if you are man enough to admit you are wrong and apologize, or if your fragile little ego can't handle facts.

Think harder. Much harder.

Bless every ones heart.

Crickets, eh? Not surprised: I figured you to be a coward and not man enough to admit you are wrong!

Bless. Nothing cowardly, I just learned a long time ago there's no point in arguing with retards. Have fun telling yourself how brave you are.

What an adorable little back peddle, hun. Calling someone a “retard” when you don’t have the ability to analytically read more than a paragraph? Fucking priceless.

Enjoy your delusions, coward. Shrivel back down your little hole and next time try manning up and apologizing when you’ve been shown to be undeniably wrong about something.

Bless, if you're not getting any sex Robyn, it's because nobody likes you - try not to take it out on strangers on the internet, just go and get yourself a personality instead. Then you can stop blaming other people for your own mental inadequacy. Enjoy being pointlessly angry this Sunday.

lol this is all you got, little man? Can't confront your own faults, huh? And instead sink to some grammar-school level troll responses to avoid your own inadequacies. Sad.

I swear, if your balls sunk any deeper into your body, you could apply for this photo competition!

Just as a refresher (as I know you're too fucking stupid to understand anything beyond what's directly in front of you), you said: "You never hear women complaining about the shortage of male teachers." I give you examples of how wrong you are. Then, you couldn't even comprehend the language of my examples, and instead of being a man and admitting you're wrong, you decide (in your little misogynist pea-brain) to jump to lowest-common denominator insults.

What a waste of space you are. Enjoy your cowardly little delusional life, loser!

Bless! :)

Got it. This is a courtship ritual for you. I appreciate the thought but you're not my type. I prefer my partners to be human but thanks all the same.

Have a super day sweetie. There's somebody out there for you, Probably a land mine victim because then they won't be able to run away.

It's a blast seeing you stumble through your rolodex of half-witted insults!

None of this has any effect on how wrong you were, however. In fact, each time you smash your knuckles on the keyboard is a further testament to your cowardice and stupidity. Got anything relevant to the initial conversation to say? I doubt it, seeing that you find your only recourse to be feckless trolling.

And you have just a blessed day yourself, angel!

I know, you're destroyed that I've not fallen for your lack of wit and intellect. You'll get over it, one day.

As soon as you stop talking nonsense on the Internet, probably. Seek help, meditate, let go and realize that you're a brainwashed NPC whose input is simply of no value.

Debating you would be like debating a squirrel, cute but completely pointless - you have nothing to offer sweetie. Run along now. I'm sure your mum is waiting to tell you how special you are. As in schoolbus.

Right: so you have nothing relevant to say. Gotcha.

All you can muster is some unoriginal boilerplate responses. You sound like an insult robot on the fritz. "Hurr derr you don't have sex...and ummmm...yur retarded!"

Fucking laughable excuse for a commenter. You can't even troll well!

Peace, ya sad sack of shit.

Your loneliness is palpable dear. Time for you to seek help. I am sure there's enough Campari in your local bar that if you buy enough and give it to someone else, you'll get that night you've always dreamed of - you know when someone touches you without revulsion?

It must really sting you that a woman proved you wrong. Such a slight on your "manhood". Look how many boring insults you keep lobbing to compensate!

You just can't stop, can you? We already know you don't have the balls to admit when you're wrong, or the intelligence to understand when it happens, let's see if you can at least control yourself and your little outbursts...

PS - You forgot your sorry vocabulary tick of inserting "Bless" at the beginning of your last responses. Slipping, bro?

Lol, you're a joke of a person.

Such a sad, sad waste of human skin. You haven't proven anyone wrong. I think your liberal arts education must have failed to explain what proving something actually takes. No surprises there.

Now run along back to your lonely, empty life.

hahahaha! You coming back to the content now, hun? Better late than never I guess.

Your quote: "You never hear women complaining about the shortage of male teachers."
I gave evidence of a multi-year high profile organization run by a woman ( with the sole purpose of reviewing and addressing the lack of male teachers in education.

Then you didn't read it and said, "The first study makes no mention of men and appears to be designed to promote women in education not men." Such a dumbass comment! Making both your initial claim as well as your comment about the evidence to refute your claim both categorically and verifiably wrong. Inaccurate. Untrue.

Thats proof that your statements were wrong. Get it, you delusional mouth-breather?

Then instead of manning up and admitting your bogus statement, you launch a whiny-little-bitch troll campaign, throwing as much inane, disjointed, and unoriginal "sick burns" as your puny half-evolved head can fathom.

Grow a pair, and a brain. And fuck off already, unless you have something useful or worthwhile to say.

Welp, looks like you ran away. Not surprised. So long, loser!

"You never hear women complaining about the shortage of male teachers, male HR officers, etc. because when they're winning, they're happy."

I refute your assertion about male teachers teachers... Many districts in my area are trying to address this.

You just hate Women

Bless. You must really loathe yourself to be unable to perceive that you don't have to hate someone to disagree with them. Learn to think, you'll be happier when you do.

says the white straight male that never suffered prejudice in his life

Yeah, nobody's ever given white men a hard time, have they? Go away you pathetic waste of skin.

oh look, further rewriting of history to fit someone's agenda, as if the internet forgets things.

You can't work to solve a problem without "calling attention" to it. That's called ignoring the problem, and is precisely how they do not get solved.

It's great for the people already benefitting from the status quo. Not surprising that they're overwhelmingly the people who complain about things like this the most.

You can't fix misogyny or sexism or racism. You can, however, mitigate some of the effects of those behaviors / ideas / actions. There are many things we can't outright fix - but we can manage and reduce the impact of them.

So, until you or someone else has a better idea, it's mostly people sitting around whining that they don't like this and that it doesn't help anything and doing nothing about it vs people trying to do something about it. The one taking a nap in your analogy is you.

This is really nice to females

I’m so confused. What’s happening here? It just looks like marketing to me. I really really really don’t care what’s between your legs when it comes to photography. You either have it, or you don’t. You want to build a community of female photographers that’s totally fine, but if your setting out to prove something than you will be disappointed because a good photograph doesn’t care about your gender, and neither do I.

It's definitely marketing. That doesn't add or detract from it's goodness, or badness, or whether it's nice to do this sort of thing for women, but don't imagine that Sony does what it does because people there are nice. Sony is a firm. Firms maximize profit.

Sony saw a un-tapped market and are going after it. Just because it is aimed towards women doesn't mean it is against men. They want to add women buyers. Sort of like when the car companies realized that women have a say in like 75% of car purchases so they aimed more ads to women.
When Canikon tried to make up for the sausage party of Brandambassodorcapturerersoflightspokespeoples by adding some women does that mean they cut out an equal number of men? I don't know because most of the Brandambassodorcapturerersoflightspokespeoples are people I have not heard of.
Nothing against men, Sony just wants the women's money.

It's always 'amazing' reading commentary from men in this industry when women are concerned. I mean, women being underrepresented in this industry, or the blackballing by male photographers, or the misogynistic comments - like many above... no, none of that has anything to do with it I suppose. This is why female photographers like Jill Greenberg have started female only agencies to represent our gender. Or why other photography websites have tried to tackle this issue, but men...again, seem to take it as an attack against them. Sony, Nikon, Canon all top dogs have few females on their roster. Male only trips/events have come under the radar for not having more females there. But again, it's just a SJW issue and women should just suck it up I guess.

The photography world is apparently - or maybe it's just the websites that attract these people - super full of real jackasses. I've always known that was the case on some level obviously, but it's constantly reaffirmed (plus some) every time I read comments on here.

I'm actually quite disgusted by the way a good amount of male photographers act on here and none of the staff do nothing about it.

No, it's not equal at all...not even close.

It's part of that whole "well everyone is entitled to an opinion" even if that opinion is white supremacy or misogyny or whatever else.

"Freedom of speech" doesn't apply to privately owned websites and their comments section. Free speech is about the government. Many websites absolutely filter out hate speech, as is their right to do so on their own private platform.

"Wouldn't that be unconstitutional"

Um, no. It would not.

Come back when you've surpassed a 4th grader's understanding of the constitution.

..... does not apply to a privately owned website.

Twitter filters hate speech. Facebook does. Many websites do. They are privately owned and therefore none of that is a violation of any law.

I couldn't agree with you more.
I seriously cannot understand how one does not/cannot see the existence of discrimination.

While I didn't watch the movie, I believe I get what you are talking about.

Actually, one might not be able to and does not want/need to see the discrimination until him/herself become the victim of it. And once s/he sees it, hopefully, s/he cannot going back to the ignorance.

So, what they are saying is women aren't in the same caliber as men, so they had to create a special category where men aren't allowed because they'll just wipe the floor with them. Is that the message? Fucking stupid. Makes it sound like Sony Alpha Female is a sub-category for those who couldn't make the cut.

There shouldn't be a men only or women only category. There should be one and let the best "photographer(s)" win. Let the chips fall where they may.

And, stop it with "misogyny or sexism or racism" crap card already. Whenever something doesn't go their way, this is the first thing these delusional dipshits in denial pull out.

I had a feeling these comments would be a full on shit storm of ignorance, and I was not disappointed, unfortunately.

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