Creator of ‘Women Photograph’ On Why Female Photojournalists Need a Separate Website
In early February, American photographer Daniella Zalcman announced the launch of Women Photograph, a website about female photojournalists. It currently displays the works of over 400 authors from about 70 countries of the world. In the interview to Wired, Zalcman said that with the help of this project she wants to fight sexist prejudice and draw attention to how underrepresented women are in photojournalism.
Daniella says that in her daily work she regularly encounters prejudice from colleagues. She says that it is still not uncommon in our day for a female photographer to hear comments such as ‘Oh, that’s such a big lens for a little girl.’ “There’s just this very paternalistic thread that exists within the news photography community of men believing they need to impart wisdom on the women photographers,” Zalcman says.
In addition, according to Zalcman, sexual harassment also happens: photojournalism is a subjective industry, and everything depends on whether a certain photo editor likes your work, and most of them are men. “Early on, you don’t have the wherewithal to fight back. You just want to be liked, to be compliant. So I get why so many young female photographers get into the field, have one or two really nasty experiences, and then say, ‘Screw it. I’m going to law school.'”
“Something I hear from editors recently is that generally speaking, women tend to be a little more sensitive, a little more dedicated to long-form personal narrative and really getting into a story. A lot of slower social documentary work is done by women. They form close bonds with subjects and they’re let in. But it doesn’t just fall along the lines of men and women. There are incredible male social documentary photographers and incredible female war photographers.”
Zalcman started working on Women Photograph in June last year. First, she wrote to all female photographers she knew, and then spent further several months reaching out to more female colleagues around the world. Now a considerable share of works available at the website are by photographers from the US and Britain, but it is planned to add more authors from other countries to the project.
According to Zalcman, she frequently hears from photo editors that they would hire women if they knew where to find them — Women Photograph is aimed to help them in it.