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New directory promotes women pro photographers

Two leading photo industry figures have launched the Australian Women in Photography (AUSWIP) Directory to promote some of the country’s finest professional photographers.

Grace Tame, activist and advocate for survivors of child sexual assault and 2021 Australian of the Year sits for a portrait in Sydney, 2021. This image was created during a session for TIME Magazine’s Next Generation Leaders edition. Photo: Lisa Maree Williams.

Inspired by the global #MeToo movement, AUSWIP was founded in 2017 by portrait and documentary photographer, Lisa Maree Williams, and Getty Images senior director for editorial content, Cassie Trotter Spencer. Originally a social media-based initiative to connect female and non-binary photographers and share their work, AUSWIP has grown into a solid community with over 500 members.

‘Our industry is changing, some traditional organisations have slipped away, and it quickly became apparent when we started the social networks that there was a lot of interest – and so much talent in Australia – both emerging and established,’ said Williams. ‘Photography is often a solo pursuit, I think this is another way to bring creators together, be inspired and invite opportunities for those featured.

‘Like Cassie, I think it’s important that we see the world from a variety of viewpoints, not only through different genders, but also diverse ethnicities and socioeconomic backgrounds. It’s tough to be considered for opportunities if people can’t find you.’

The AUSWIP Directory, which launched on International Women’s Day, features around 70 photographers. There are some top and award-winning photographers from all fields featured in the directory, ranging from commercial and advertising, fine art and portraiture, through to documentary and photojournalist.

The AUSWIP Directory aims to become a comprehensive database to find female and non-binary Australian-based photographers. The directory provides photographer profiles, including contact detqails and a gallery, and they can be found based on location, name, or photographic specialities.

‘Our mission is to develop, promote, and support female and non-binary photographers and creating and maintaining this public directory is pivotal to achieving our aims,’ said Cassie Trotter Spencer, co-founder of Australian Women in Photography. ‘We no longer wish to hear the words “I couldn’t find a woman” when opportunities arise in our industry, and we hope the directory will make it simpler to find experienced and diverse photographers for work, collaboration, and connection.’

While professional photography has historically been a male-dominated industry, there is more female participation than ever before. Some areas of photography, such as family portraiture and weddings, are now likely majority female.

But there are still noticeable gaps, particularly in the commercial and advertising sectors.

High-end fashion photographer, Cybele Malinowski, told Inside Imaging that in 2018 that ‘looking at the hard stats, they [female photographers] are getting the work, but they are funnelling in to lesser paid areas of photography. They are not getting represented by the photo agencies and they are not getting the high paid jobs in the commercial world.’

Initiatives like AUSWIP and its directory, along with other female-focused events and organisations, aim to create awareness and shine a light on women photographers.

It’s free to list on the AUSWIP director provided a criteria is met, and applications are assessed biannually.

To make a submission, photographers must:
– Identify as female or non-binary and be based in Australia;
– Have 5 + years of experience as a photographer + a representative body of work;
– Have a website and/or Instagram account.

(Thumbnail image by Beth Mitchell)

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