ChromaticSoul :: The Blog

(Wo)men Photographers

Posted on: 1 April 2007

On March 8th of this year (International Women’s Day) Magnum Photos anounced the following:

Today, on International Women’s Day, we turn a complicated and multi-faceted topic over to the Magnum Blog’s readers to discuss. Click on the post’s title to comment. What has been the greatest female contribution to photography? (via Magnum Photos)

This was in conjunction with their 5th Magnum Photos Inge Morath Award. The $5000 prize is given to a woman photographer under thirty years of age to assist in the completion of a long term documentary project. The deadline is May 15th.

The comments from readers is fascinating and centers around a discussion of why ask a gender-oriented question in the first place. One reader points out that roughly 96% of the Magnum photographers are men. The comment I liked best came from Clayton McKee:

Perhaps the greatest contribution then is that there really isn’t a way to look at finished product and draw any significant lines between photos made by women and photos made by men. There may be some broad access differences (Meiselas’ work comes to mind, Jodi Cobb’s Geishas, and so forth) because of differences in social roles, but IMO it would be impossible to argue that “Men’s(Women’s) photos are always better(worse) than women’s(men’s)” without looking like a complete idiot. So maybe the “greatest contribution women have made” is the proof that the question itself is fundamentally flawed….


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