Women Street Photographers Show That the Genre Is Not Just for the Boys

Women Street Photographers Show That the Genre Is Not Just for the Boys

Women have always played a big role in the photography world, but this fact is not always apparent. Street photography in particular has always lacked a strong female presence. Women Street Photographers aims to change that perception. 

Women Street Photographers started as an Instagram feature account that not only aimed to draw attention to the female photographers in the field but also to encourage other women to follow their passion. But as of December 18, it has turned into a New York exhibit that is featuring the work of more than 75 women. This curated selection of work is currently on display along with a brief story from the artist as to how the image was captured. 

In a World of Unicorns by @nikigle: “Walking on the beach, I saw two men hugging with an amazing expression. Magic happened when the kids in the background flew the floating Unicorn in the air! At that moment, I realized that this was a strong image. It’s those rare moments, and I felt my heart beating like crazy"

The gallery and account were founded and are curated by Gulnara Samoilova. Gulnara is a Pulitzer Prize-nominated photographer and former Associated Press photojournalist. I personally recognize her for her images taken during 9/11 that you have undoubtedly seen.  

If you are in the area during the exhibit, definitely stop by and show your support. Until then, you can follow Women Street Photographers on Instagram to keep up with the work and stories for each image. 

Lead Image by @efratsela: Tel Aviv Yarkon park, 2017. “From a far distance, I noticed a group of ultra-Orthodox youth. I walked towards them; as I approached, they were next to a big white modernist sculpture. The contrast was beautiful. Two of them were climbing up while the teacher in the background asked them to move on. Luckily, I was there to catch the moment.”

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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Did somebody ever said that street photography is "just for the boys"? Just trying to understand the reason behind it, as I was not aware that there is an "issue" before I read this article. Street photography is for everybody. I may be missing something but it is not like in a corporate world where (in some cases) woman get paid less than man. Everyone can go out and shoot street photography, man and woman.

Just the author and an entire society jumping on a bandwagon of shaming and exclusivity. Nothing to see here.

It would be a shame if such a great thing as street photography would become a battlefield of unnecessary politics.

So true. Actually, I am surprised that photography being a modeling genre is not at the forefront of exclusivity and shaming... It has been a nice run... I hope it doesn't take a turn for the worse soon.

well said. It seems everything is becoming a battlefield between the sexes initiated by insecurities and the need to prove something...and the always present and completely useless PC.

No one said it's just for the boys, but the work being shown and published would lead you to believe that only boys are participating. This exhibit is meant to showcase that women do in fact shoot street photography, and they are dang good at it.

Jason, thank you for your reply. You sound a bit defensive. I am not looking to start a fight. Just trying to understand. There is no doubt that woman are good at it. In the end of the day, it is a matter of whether one is a good photographer or not, woman or man. Nobody prevents or restricts woman to participate and showcase their work; I am not sure who and why got this perception that "only boys are participating", so I am surprised by what you said. If you have any real life examples to support your words, feel free to share. I know many woman who are great street photographers, and they do show their work publicly. I learn from some of them. Up until I saw this article I had no idea there is an issue, hence I'd like to understand what it is all about. To be honest, it looks like an attempt to get publicity using an "issue" which does not seem to be based on real-life facts.

As a matter of fact, one of my students, a lady photographer from Spain, just won Sony worldwide street photography competition, and got a set of Sony photo equipment (camera and lens) as a prize. I am very proud of her achievement.

"You sound defensive" says the person who posts defensively in response to his question being answered.

Mark, I repeat - "I am not looking to start a fight". You may consider reading the above comments carefully before letting yourself to be rude. All the best.

Don't tone police please. My comment was no ruder than anything you've posted here. You do sound defensive. I'm not trying to start a fight. Just trying to understand.

Mark, have a wonderful sunny day, and do something nice for yourself today, something that would make you feel a little bit kinder and happier. All the best.

Saying something like "you sound defensive" is a classic debate trick, when you challenge the person, not the argument. So the other guy first needs to defend themselves from being defensive before explaining their statement. My brother was an expert at it. Cheers!

Thanks for that important piece of information.

Perhaps you are missing the context. Yan told Jason (the author of the article) that he "sounded a bit defensive." Yan was using a classic debate trick, where Yan challenged the person, not the argument.

I countered with another classic debate trick, where I used Yan's words back at him, to mock his use of "the classic debate trick." Yan response was a passive-aggressive "have a wonderful sunny day", another classic debate trick usually employed when the person has run out of things to say but wants to get the last word in.

I hope I have expanded your knowledge on "classic debate tricks." Cheers!

Mark, you sound so smart:) Really sorry, I was not planning to waste more time on it, but your words made me smile, thank you:) If you find a statement "have a wonderful sunny day" as being "passive-aggressive", that is really funny. You seem to be a grown up man to be able to tell a difference between a person who is wishing you a good day, and a person who is being aggressive towards you. I am not a psychologist, so may be I am wrong. As you seem to be very quick to jump to assumptions (it happens often when people communicate by sms and misinterpret what other person wrote), just wanted to let you know that I sincerely and with all my heart wish you have a great day, without any double meaning. And if somebody would ever wish you a great day, I hope you would not think that they are being aggressive:) Just have a great day.

society invents needless issues all the time:-(

it be ok if there was an actual intelligent reply rather than an attack on the poster
usually means you got nothing

Another one looking to start a fight and making wrong assumptions. Your reply is not clear, so I am not sure if it was aimed at me or someone else. Happy New Year, my "intelligent" friend.

*grabs popcorn* An article about gender? Guaranteed shit show in the comments section.


Vivian Maier might have to say something about that.

As well as Diane Arbus, Jill Freedman, Rebecca Lepkoff, Mary Ellen Mark, and Martha Cooper to name a few.

I'm not saying there are no women photographers, I'm saying the mass majority of them are not being represented.

The mass majority of all photographers are not being represented, woman and man. We live in a world where photographers have to make efforts to represent themselves and sell their photos. There are no statistics (at least I am not aware of any) showing how many of us are represented, by gender, and to what extent, and what is considered as "under-represented", or "over-represented". As well as there are no restrictions to represent our work. If some photographers (both woman and man) feel under-represented, it is mostly down to their own fears, quality of their work, and lack of efforts.

"Not being represented?" What does that actually mean? Particularly in a world of Instagram, YouTube, and the World Wide Web?

What street photographers get "represented," who does it, and what evidence is there that they're deliberately ignoring women street photographers?

don't you think that's an issue for the photographer, if she wanted her work to be shown there's no end of platforms to use
I don't think it means there is any sort of equality issue unless you think women are incapable of taking care of things for themselves

There is a difference between someone sharing their work online and them having their work shared and represented by publications. If you look at the majority of street photography-related publications and accounts, you would think that not a lot of women are out shooting or that the work is not up to par. This exhibit is meant to prove that they are shooting and the work is amazing. I agree that it is a partial responsibility on women to try and be published, but there is a responsibility for the publications as well to be inclusive. Especially when the quality of work is at or above the standards needed.

Exclusivity is a profound and idiotic manner of journalism. Nothing is one way or the other until you make it so.


I'd like to be judged...represented by my work not my gender.

I keep thinking that as well, if there was some gallery that hosted a "ONLY MEN" kind of thing, I would want nothing to do with it.

In street photography, as in who did what, whichever genre of photography, gender is not important but the image itself! Individually you'll find all stages of quality regardless of gender. So why this title?

Correlation does not imply causation. In other words, just because there are not many women in street photography does not mean that it's because men don't want them there, or because of some other nefarious reason. It could just be because most women don't find it interesting, or that it's just not their thing. Does sexism happen, yes, but even more dangerous than that is saying it exists where it doesn't because there's nothing you can do to actually fix something that's not really broken.

Is this perception based on any solid statistics? Honestly the way I discover new photography nowadays is using social media and I see a lot of interesting and compelling work from many women.
These days is lot easier to share your work but a maybe harder to get noticed.

Don't think such statistics exist, or can be put together. I am guessing but it looks more like an attempt to get publicity using a made up "issue" which is not really an "issue" (I was not aware there is an "issue" until I saw this article). I believe that saying "I feel I am not represented because I am a woman photographer" is an excuse people make to justify their lack of work, lack of clients, and lack of representation. Similar to "I do not get many clients because I am not as talented as <name>", "I do not get many jobs as I live in a small city", "I do not go shooting because it is raining"...Nothing related to gender. It is all down to personal efforts, where we have to make efforts to get noticed, to get better, to explore new channels where our work can be seen. As an example, one of my colleagues with whom I shoot events, gets more jobs than I do, simply because she is a better marketer and is able to represent herself on more channels. Another lady, one of my students, just won Sony street photography competition, because she made efforts in getting better and were not afraid to enter the competition and represent her work publicly.

Hi Yan, Just to remind you - not so long ago....
(I'm one of the photographer from the reportage above..)

I am not clear on how it is related to street photography. I can't judge what and why Nikon did as I am not aware of the requirements for putting that team of man together.