30 Under 30 Women

I almost gave up with Photo Boite‘s 30 Under 30 Women Photographers, as although the initial page loaded rapidly, when I clicked on the link for 2016 I got just a large blank white page with just the header menu, now showing a larger 2016 and, scrolling down several blank white pages, the page footer.

I waited  and waited and after a minute or two,  went to check my e-mail. But fortunately I’d left the page open in Firefox and five minutes later came back to find the site had loaded.  I don’t know why the page should take so long to load, though around 3Mb of images doesn’t help, but I’m working on a connection where sites download at 35Mbps and pages with a similar amount of images download faster than I can scroll down them. Perhaps it loads all 30 pages at once, though the time seemed excessive even for that, or perhaps it was just very busy when I tried.

I tried the site in another browser, Internet Explorer, rather than the Firefox I normally use, and it did load rather faster, though still slow enough for many to have gone elsewhere.  But don’t be put off; once the site has loaded it works well, and shows a good number of images by each of the 30 women.

As well as the pictures, there are also short biographies of the photographers, many of whom have already enjoyed considerable success, and rightly so from the quality of their work, though there are a few who I felt were perhaps a little over-exposed and where a tighter selection of images might have helped. Or perhaps their work appealed to me less.

Despite the press release which describes the work as:

“A more feminine vision: 30 UNDER 30 exhibits the work of women photographers from around the world offering their visions based on their experience, along with their tact and composure, innocence and sensuality, at times fierce and provocative.

A more innocent vision: Driven by expression, this new generation draws its inspiration
and conveys it through its works with purity, free of disillusionment, through portraiture, photojournalism, landscapes, art and architecture, fashion and even war photography in a milieu traditionally practiced by their counterparts.”

I can’t really see anything about the work that would make me think they were ‘women photographers’ rather than simply thinking of them as photographers; my experience has always been that many of the best photographers I’ve known have been women. When I taught photography, the great majority of my better students were women.

Of course women have been under-represented in the pantheon of photography, but the reasons for this are not photographic but wider social issues.  When I put together a list of notable photographers for a photography web site,  there were only 41 women among the roughly 200 photographers, but these did include some who made really significant contributions to the medium, including Julia Margaret Cameron, Berenice Abbott, Diane Arbus, Nan Goldin, Cindy Sherman, Dorothea Lange, Margaret Bourke-White, Mary Ellen Mark, Imogen Cunningham and more. Many women have over the years played an important role behind the camera as well as in front of it, something I feel the introduction to ‘30 under 30 Women‘ fails to acknowledge.

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