Here Is How White Male Privilege Is Impacting Professional Photographers Worldwide (By a White Male)

Male white privilege is among one of the most pressing issues in the modern working world. But does that extend to photography? Unfortunately, yes. Here is what one renowned white male photographer had to say about this issue.

The world is becoming more and more aware of the countless disadvantages people of color face when trying to get equal opportunities in their careers. This extends to women, as well as other groups of people. Summed up, if you’re not a 30+ white male with a native accent, you have likely faced disadvantages in one way or another. In his thought-provoking video, Scott talks about the advantages, sometimes unfair, that he got because of how he was born.

I can strongly relate to this. While I am a white male, I was not born in an English-native environment, and if you talk to me long enough, you’ll realize that I am not native. On top of that, I am also way under 30, closer to 20. These factors, while nowhere near something an aspiring female photographer would face, still have held me back from doing certain things. As a matter of fact, some people repeatedly told me to not run workshops or coach photographers because of how young I am and the stereotypes around that. Funny enough, it’s never the people who attend my sessions, but the other folks that run them.  

Coming back to Scott's video, I strongly encourage you to check it out and see just exactly how white privilege contributed to photography and what efforts are being done to counter it.  

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84 Comments
Alex Armitage's picture

Im just here for the comments

Stuart C's picture

Me - places popcorn in microwave.

Jamie MacDonald's picture

Same

Black Z Eddie .'s picture

Sigh, more woke virtue signaling apologists.

Marc J Wrzesinski's picture

Oh man, a white middle aged guy getting mad about "woke culture" -- and not realizing that photography has long been a heavily white male dominated industry like many others with rampant sexism throughout.

Only took 2 hours after the article was posted.

Black Z Eddie .'s picture

Golly gee willikers, you might want to wipe off the steam from your woke glasses. I ain't white, 'yo.

--- "Only took 2 hours after the article was posted."

Well, duh, that's when I read it. Should I have waited a day or two? Lol, this guy.

David Pavlich's picture

Nicely done, Eddie!

Black Z Eddie .'s picture

Thanks, David! Some of these triggered that act without thinking (or looking) make it easy.

:D

David Pavlich's picture

It's unfortunate that in today's environment, stereotyping is all too common. I am that old white guy, but my way of thinking, while archaic by today's standards, is that, in a business environment, a person is judged by results, not by any sort of socially convenient criteria. If I decide to hire a photographer or a caterer or painter, I'm going to check portfolios and customer reviews, not white, black, brown, gay, straight. Compromising my needed outcome to satisfy some socially acceptable entity goes against my train of thought.

Stephen Terra's picture

My oh My! What a concept, looking at results instead of gender, nationality, etc.

David Pavlich's picture

It is a sad state of affairs when results/qualifications come in fourth or fifth on the list of what to look for when hiring. I used to be that person that hired people and my only requirement was the person had to be the applicant would be the best to fulfill the needs of my operation. That was it.

Ken Flanagan's picture

I downvoted your comment because of your lazy response, and your assumption that he was white.

John Samples's picture

"photography has long been a heavily white male dominated industry"
Wow... what a way to discredit all the tons of photographers from around the world. Just because something is dominant where you live, doesn't mean it applies in every city, state, country, etc.

Alex Herbert's picture

I'm not sure that by saying an industry is dominated by one demographic you're discrediting anyone else. Care to explain the logic behind that?

tom walker's picture

Everybody knows that “popcorn in the microwave” is code for “white rage.”

Teresa Oldenbourg's picture

I thought it was code for "this will provided entertaining drama"?

Stuart C's picture

It is Teresa, I’m completely impassive about the article, in fact I didn’t read it, or watch the video. I was purely going off the title, I don’t expect this guy to understand though.

John Samples's picture

Funny, I'm not white and an immigrant, and have worked in the industry for a long time, yet find self-hating articles like this tone deaf and stupid. To generalize 'white rage' or 'white male privilege' like this shows y'all are the truly hateful and ignorant ones instead of being inclusive to everyone regardless of their race or gender.

Studio 403's picture

Well of course if you are white you have a "leg up". Another 75 yeas that could change. But I would argue it is not privilege as so debated in the USA. What you have said is in my view gobbledygook. The way this ideology is being plays out , Caucasian folk like me are being vilified in the Press, talking head shows. Its about envy, shame and guilt. its a form of witchcraft. I reject the methods and tactics used against Caucasians , or any other people groups. I was a young man when the civil rights started with Dr Martin Luther King. I saw the "white bigots" haters of folks of color, that is black. That same crowd had ultra dim view of American Jews. I witness the horror of the vile hatred for blacks and jews. At the core of the "white privilege" attacks, Today, the same methodology is being used against whites. They are the new modern secular Pharisees. Its their way or no way. This is why it will fail, Same methods the Klan used.

No "excuse" or rationalization of our "collective sins" Life is not fair and never will be in my view. I am 76 and have had to face my own racism and bigotry in my life. Most have been laid to rest. The spirit of accusation if rampant in all these "culture wars". I do appreciate you taking your personal view, (as in freedom of the press) in your video. Sounds sort of high minded and laced with your own shame. This is my personal views and not set in stone. I have yet to hear and logical solutions either. Our federal and some state governments are being racist today. President Biden just labeled "trump folks" extremist. This is half of American voters in the last election. Horrible he would say in a public setting. My rant for the day. Be safe and love our neighbor as your self .

John Samples's picture

Well said. As someone who has immigrated here and am not white, it's baffling how much self-hate this country has and how much they focus on race and gender nowadays. When we have other cultures come to our country, we just treat them the same as us, but in US, now it's used as a form of villainizing people who've done nothing wrong, and making people make choices based on race and gender instead of focusing on their skills and quality of work. I always feel pathetic when I hear I was hired for something or got 'extra points' specifically for my race instead of solely on my work. And with how hateful this country has become, especially thanks to the 'woke mobs' who play focus on identity politics, it really makes us uncomfortable and often I just want to go back to my home country.

John Haniotakis's picture

It's all about the money. He posted that "apologetic" video because he wants to land a big woke corporate client. And in politics, it's about voting groups. If blacks voted republican, they would go against the blacks. They're attacking the major demographic of the other party, that's all. That's why they won't go against rich white women. The United States was always organized around gangs. I'm an immigrant too, and we both know what it is said in the immigrant communities when we see a black person with a good job - "he got the job because he's black"; that's the result of the "woke" practices - they managed to stigmatize talented black people.

Alex Herbert's picture

" and we both know what it is said in the immigrant communities when we see a black person with a good job - "he got the job because he's black"; that's the result of the "woke" practices - they managed to stigmatize talented black people."

Wow, y'all are racist.

John Haniotakis's picture

You should hear what black people from Africa (French colonies especially) say about the American black people - you'd be shocked.

Alex Herbert's picture

I know plenty of Africans, many of whom are from former French colonies. Can't say I've heard much, maybe pick better company?

Nigel Voak's picture

When are we going to finish with this awful reverse racism and self hate.

I see none of the academics who launched this racist and discriminatory crusade have renounced their jobs and handed their post to supposedly discriminated colleagues. A few have become even wealthier by publishing white self hate books and making conference appearances.

Life is not fair and photography like a lot of other professions, is a particularly competitive jungle where the most talented of any race creed or orientation do not always win the prizes.

Naruto Uzumaki's picture

Sadly this is the issue of wokeism. They will talk about a nebulous "white privilege" but are unable to provide factual examples. At best they will try to use an anecdote and speculation based on a fallacy of conflating all inequity with inequality, and then engage in wokeism in order to get some virtue signaling points.

The issue is the people who push that junk, don't even believe it themselves. If they truly believe that they have what they have due to some illicit privilege, then they would be willing to lead by example and give up those ill-gotten gains. If in his non fleshed out examples, if he truly believed that there was white privilege, then that implies racism taking place, but he is unwilling to call it out. In the US there are states where the people blaming unequal outcomes on white privilege, are in party that has a veto-proof majority at all levels of their state government, with like minded people appointed state government positions that do not rely on elections, yet they will say their state is plagued by white privilege, and demand more power to fix it every election cycle.
At some point people will have to realize that it is a myth used to seek more political power and not

The current society (at least in most western non-socialist countries, is based on meritocracy).
When you submit an image to a competition, the judges are not researching your race before they look at your photo.

One issue that leads to certain discrepancies is partially due to identity politics, racial essentialism, and victimhood mentality. The bigoted crowd pushing wokeism, will collectivize people by race rather than the content of their character, and then indoctrinate them into victimhood mentality, thus making them less likely to seek a higher position.

Alex Cooke's picture

Oh goodness, the sheer magnitude of your lack of self-awareness never fails to amuse me, Dan.

Illya Ovchar's picture

You finally uncovered the true me. Here is a face reveal.

Wes Perry's picture

Odd that everyone in the comments thinks this is some sort of a hazy made up non-issue. When numbers and statistics from an incredibly wide range of sources easily demonstrate this effect. Why are white males represented at approx 2x their demographic distribution over others in brand ambassador programs like Canon Explorers of Light? I guess white dudes must just work twice as hard as everyone else. That Must be it… 🤔
(Not to mention that less than ten years ago these lists were ~90% white dudes, until brands were made aware of their Very strong obvious preference and rapidly made some additions)

David Pavlich's picture

Did you know that over 90% of construction workers are male? That nearly 90% of sewage/water workers are male? That 96% of auto mechanics are male (US)? I know this is a photocentric site, but I thought I'd point out that there is male dominance in other places, but you don't see articles written about it. I worked in the steel industry for 28 years and I can tell you that it is totally male dominated. I know why, but I'll let others figure it out if they haven't already.

Stuart C's picture

I work in warehousing and have done for 24yrs, when i started in 1998 there was about 3 females on site, now its a 50/50 split of around 150 people. There is no discernable difference in the volume of work that each person does.

Wes Perry's picture

Point might be salient were it not for the fact that over half of photographers are female, but are as such significantly underrepresented. Unlike construction and warehouse work, photography demographics are typically Very closely tied to average general regional demographics. It’s very much an “every person” profession.

Kirk Darling's picture

And as well, the great majority of people making photography purchase decisions across the spectrum of photography purchasing are female. So, who is doing the discriminating?

Observing such narrow points of data such as "Canon Explorers of Light" paints a false picture of the entire situation.

David Pavlich's picture

Stuart...for some reason, clicking on your reply button doesn't work, so my apologies for replying to myself. I have no doubt that the work done by the men and women at your place of employment gets done with more or less equal amount of quality work. I was just pointing out that there's some work that is really hard and does not attract females. And because it's hard work and dirty work, we don't read articles like this trying to shame males because 96% of auto mechanics are guys.

Stuart C's picture

Yeah there seems to be some issue with the site lately that is stopping that.

Honestly I can see that trend changing over time, tradesman/person jobs are well paid and I’ve seen more and more lasses getting into stuff like plumbing, decorating, joinery etc… a lot of the ladies I work with were redeployed from offices and call centres and they absolutely love it, said it’s like breaking out of prison. My own girlfriend is a harder grafter than I am these days lol, most of our power tools were bought by her because she always has some project or other on the go (making a headboard for a bed from pallet wood whilst I was on a stag weekend), she is a slightly unhinged art teacher mind so that could explain it haha… I don’t know what it’s like where you are, but in the U.K. this gender divide in traditional working careers is disappearing, we have more men working tills in the supermarket than women now.

It might be just cos people need a job however and nobody is fussy about what they do.

David Pavlich's picture

The trades will command big salaries in the not too distant future. Stuff always needs built or repaired and there's more and more stuff. Good salaries make for good incentives. Maybe the ladies will see that and decided that it's not a bad thing to get dirty and sweaty.

Stuart C's picture

They already are over here.

Kirk Darling's picture

The "problem" with the trades is that after all is said and done, they require a lot of donkey work that eventually becomes too physically taxing even for men as they get older...before they are old enough to retire. The ideal situation is to own your own business by then and hire young folk to do the donkey work...but not everyone is going to be able to own the business.

David Pavlich's picture

True. It's hard work, but if they're smart, they will be able to retire early. As far as owning a business, I feel sorry for those hiring in this environment. Do I hire the best and brightest or do I hire according to the latest social mandate?

David Stephen Kalonick's picture

It's obvious that you get your talking points from Jordan Peterson. Do you ever have an original opinion or are you always getting your talking points from clinical psychologist?

David Pavlich's picture

I've had my opinions well before Peterson was a thing. Nice try.

Alex Herbert's picture

Just think for a second, if they didn't dismiss it as made up and nonsense, then it might affect THEIR day to day lives. Imagine the horror!

ted partrick's picture

This video and the accompanying article have really touched a nerve. Sadly, Choucino's points raised a lot of anguish from people who are pained by their privileges when the cure is simply to acknowledge them.

Willy Williams's picture

There is little that is more downright disgusting than a bunch of self-flagellating whiners crying, "Poor, poor pitiful me!" and "Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea MAXIMA culpa!" Grow up, get to work and make the world a better place rather than create an unnecessary, unproductive pity party.

Jason Frels's picture

But in this day and age, we have already had brown and orange presidents of the USA, so I don't know.

Brock Brogan's picture

I’m a white male photographer in the US and have no data to measure my privilege, so can’t speak to that. I have been turned down 3 projects now that I was brought in by a third party due to my demographic. Most recently this week I was told by a multi-billion dollar company (whom I have an “in” at) that they are not currently allowed (yes that’s the word they used) to hire white male photographers.

Edison Wrzosek's picture

Jesus Christ, that's so blatantly discriminatory!!! Forget the old adage of hiring the right person for the right job, nope, now it's all about your gender and/or demographic. That is, frankly, disgusting.

If I was hiring for an assistant, I don't care what gender you are, what nationality, what anything, I'll hire you based on your SKILLS, and ONLY that, as that's the only thing that matters.

David Pavlich's picture

Well, Brock....since you were turned down because you're a guy, at least you know that it wasn't your body of work. I know it's little consolation, but such is the environment we live in which is more the pity.

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