women with cameras….

one of the most rewarding things for me to come out of the Magnum meeting now going on in London is the inclusion of Spanish photographer Cristina Garcia Rodero as the newest full member of our agency….out of the approximately fifty members of our agency , only eight of them are women…..this is a painful reality…..no matter where i travel and am faced with an audience of photographers, the question is always asked of me “why are there not more women in Magnum?”…..indeed….perhaps more importantly, the question should be, why aren’t there more women in our craft in general???

i am now sitting in the back of a room in London where the male dominant crowd is palpable….i can see Cristina now sitting smiling at the other end of a long table….but between Cristina and where i now sit is Larry Towell, Martin Parr, Bruno Barbey, Costa Manos, Peter Marlow, and Richard Kalvar….over to the left i see Lise Sarfati sitting next to Alex Webb, Eli Reed, Joseph Koudelka, Elliott Erwitt and Steve McCurry….right next to me is Alessandra Sanguinetti who is standing next to Jim Goldberg , Trent Parke, Mikail  Subotsky , Alec Soth and Jonas Bendikson….you get the picture….

Magnum members took an initiative about 10 years ago to help change this equation….the Inge Morath grant was initiated by Larry Towell,  and all Magnum members contribute from their own pockets to give out the annual $5,000 grant to an emerging woman photographer….this year we gave the award to Emily Schiffer to continue her work with Native Americans, ” Cheyenne River”….we collectively juried this award two days ago from four finalists….congratulations Emily….

we also have a first runner up….this year it was Jenn Ackerman, whose work most of you know here as an EPF finalist with her work “Trapped: Mental Illness in America’s Prisons”….there is no money in our Inge Morath account to give anything more than the one $5,000. grant…..since the vote was so close, and since i feel that Jenn could use some funding to continue her work, i have decided to move some funding from the EPF account in the direction of Jenn…..

BURN will now give $2,000. to the first runner up of the Inge Morath award….Jenn Ackerman

to be clear…this is BURN funding, not Magnum funding….i am assuming Jenn will use the money wisely on her important effort….in my opinion, both Emily and Jenn deserve this support….i do not know Emily and only met once Jenn briefly, so i am making this contribution simply based on the work in front of me….all of you are part of this , since unlike the Inge Morath grant, the financing for the EPF part of this equation comes from you…yes, it is generous donors here on BURN who provide the funding for EPF….i have never asked for any of this funding, so this comes to us out of the sheer generousity of the readers here….many many thanks….

none of this will change the balance of women to men in our business….but, as most of you know, i am a “brick in the wall” philosopher….in the workshops i teach it is almost always a woman whose work rises to the top of the class…usually out on the edge, sensitive and non-linear work….why we do not see these women with cameras later on in the craft is  something i cannot explain…..maybe some of you can….

in any case, keep an eye out in the future for both Emily and Jenn….i do hope they will be around for the long haul….Cristina needs company….


131 Responses to “women with cameras….”

  • marcin luczkowski

    “.in the workshops i teach it is almost always a woman whose work rises to the top of the class…usually out on the edge, sensitive and non-linear work….why we do not see these women with cameras later on in the craft is not something i can explain…..maybe some of you can….”

    I have the same experience as you David. I think 80% of my students are women, but after that somehow most of them just stop doing this. Why? Who knows?
    I think they growing faster and we mans are always 10 yers boys with ours toys and adventures.

    But I am happy that we have HERE ON BURN so many excellent women photographers. And I think we have stronger women’s photography than men’s here.

  • A civilian-mass audience

    “The society of women is the element of good manners.”
    Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

    “Love and respect woman. Look to her not only for comfort, but for strength and inspiration and the doubling of your intellectual and moral powers. Blot out from your mind any idea of superiority; you have none.”
    Giuseppe Mazzini

    VIVA Ladies of the Universe !!!

    P.S Come on mates… WHAT NOT TO LOVE !!!

  • I’ve known a number of outstanding women photographers over the years. Ultimately, they all chose family over photography, and who can question those decisions? It is a great loss to photography, though.


    you may notice that alessandra sanguinetti, very much a family woman, is ready to answer questions for the next few hours on the subsequent post….ask away please

  • Kudos to you David and to Magnum for this step forward. Cristina Garcia Rodero is a remarkable photographer and wonderful person. Magnum should be honored to have her.

    On a related note regarding smaller grant amounts, I’ve always wondered if grants of $10K-$20K really made sense. It seems to me that much can be done with a grant of $2K-$5K, so if I had the ability to influence foundations, I would urge them to spread the wealth around.

    BTW, it’s nice to see some blogs from you here. Hint, hint;-)


  • Walk into any camera store and you will soon realize you’re entering a male dominated world. In my experience the reason many women have to put photography aside is because it is a difficult world to be successful in. As Jim said the need to support a family becomes an issue. The other hurdle I see is age. Once the family is done, is the woman tries to go back into photography she is stigmatized as old and having nothing to contribute. The effort required to get noticed then is huge.

    Of the women that are with Magnum, I wonder how many are 40+ years old? Congrats to Emily and Jenn.

  • “in the workshops i teach it is almost always a woman whose work rises to the top of the class…usually out on the edge, sensitive and non-linear work”

    When I think of the work produced in the workshop you and Jim Nachtwey just gave in C’ville, David, yes, it is the essays by women that stay with me. Kerry Payne’s empathetic exploration of the feelings of those left behind by the suicide of a loved one. Carrie Roseman’s mystical self portraits in which she and the elements of earth, air, water and fire become one. Kris Giacobbe’s “self portrait” as an amalgam of crying child and loving mother. The gifted young photographer from McGill University (whose name has escaped me) who managed to create something brand new in her work with the elders in a nursing home.

    In each of these cases, the photographer approached her subject from the “inside looking out,” even when the subject was someone other than herself. Even the most talented male photographer in our class–Ryan Scherb comes to mind with his continuation of the EMS series he’d started last year–took his photos from the “outside looking in.” Not to say they weren’t compassionate–they most certainly were–but simply that his point of view was what one would expect in work of this kind.

    Is there a valid generalization to be made here? Do women in fact more often slip “inside the subject” to take their photos? Is this a cultural/social phenomenon or just a happenstance?


  • Hi David,

    THANK YOU for addressing this subject at the Magnum meeting, as promised :o). Were you also able to address removing the age limit for the grant award? And if so, was the Magnum group receptive?

    Also thank you for bringing Ms. Sanguinetti on board to answer our questions … wonderful to have access to modern masters, I hope Q&A sessions like this one become a regular feature @ Burn.

    Congratulations to Emily and Jenn!

  • CONGRATULATIONS TO JENN!!! she deserves the recognition she is receiving! i love both Christina and Alessandra’s work – so glad they are both a part of Magnum!

  • When I teach college art photography classes, more often than not, women out number men. In terms of fine art academic photography (art photographers teaching at the college level) it seems more balanced than journalism or aspects of photography. I wonder if it comes down to the type or genre of photography this discussion is being held in. My observations are anecdotal and come from my specific experiences.

  • Congratulations to Cristina and Alessandra! A class photographer and an inspired one and Magnum is fortunate to have her and I hope that her magical and important work continues.

    Also, congratulations to Emily!…great project with a great and generous soul!! Also, congratulations to Jenn!. A profoundly generous, regal, and class move on behalf of Burn, David!

    As to the issue of women BEING UNDERREPRESENTED….Well, at the moment (i hope to finish it this week), im writing an essay (as I promised Teru and Lisa) about the issue of EXCLUSION in the upper-echelon of the documentary/journalism world of photography…..THERE ARE LOTS AND LOTS AND LOTS OF WOMEN in this art/craft/profession and yet they are woefully under-represented…..

    i’m writing about this aspect as well….and the underrepresentation of women and non-white/european at the top agencies is shameful….it does not mesh at all with my experience in toronto, in the art world, or our waking life….what does this persist?….i have some ideas, but that will have to wait for my essay….which i’ll publish at Lighstalkers and Duckrabbit….

    only 9 or 10 women members of Magnum (full members) in it’s history ( cant remember)…and only 8 now….Vu has 4 permanent and a lot more that it distributes…VII’s percentage is better, but not terribly inspiring…or inspired….I think the Ingre MOrath award is great….BUT BUT BUT…until the real deal is done, where women are given a better shake in the control and distribution and sales and representation in these big agencies, PJ/Documentary work is going to be still a defined, unfortunately, by a standard and mentality that is bereft of depth of not only fairness but something more intrinsic: equality of vision……..but, more about all this later…

    for just for one moment, let us take a look at OUR OWN BACKYARD:

    ONLY 13 of the 64 singles pictures were women: a depressing 20%

    ONLY 17 of the 59 essays were women: a depressing 32%

    the EPF was better and I am certain because David’s eye was toward inclusion:

    of the 11 Finalists, only 10 were told to us, and of those 10, 4 were finalists: 40%. THIS IS BETTER.

    What is the cause of this behavior….when so so so many women are photographers, are IN THE PROFESSION ALREADY, SHOOTING, WORKING, GENERATING WORK, COVERING STORIES….what has happened??….

    Is Burn better??….i’m not sure, not yet at least….Burn has gone out of it’s way to feature women and their work, but is what has been published representative of the truth of the amount of work being done by women??….I don’t think so. So why the discrepancy?

    I cannot necessarily explain this. I have some ideas, and am incorporating them into my essay, but one thing is for sure: this BLOG has become Testosterone-fucked….frankly. I am sure that, at least NOW, more men NOW participate/submit. Only David and Anton know the percentage, but for sure the great majority of commentators are men. Also, it defies natural explanation as to why it is so skewed in favor of the men. Only David and Anton see/know all the submissions and the percentages. I know both men and they are not male-chauvinists, but i do thing, that at least in the world of ‘journalism’ and of a certain kind of photography/photographers, the boys roost, explicitly and passively, they rule the roost.

    I can share my own perspective, which is not terribly insightful as to the full understanding of the magazine. But i did try, in my brief position as editor-at-large, to get more women (AND MORE ASIANS AND S.AMERICANS) to submit and to be published. When David asked me originally to be ‘editor-at-large’ the FIRST thing i did was send an email to 120+ WOMEN photographers that I know or have contact with or have worked with professionally: from N.America to Europe to Asia to Australia to Middle East. Many responded to my email personally and MANY submitted work….to the EPF, to the Essays and to singles….and frankly, I am left still struck that not a single one of those women’s work has yet to be shown…I am wondering, for example, why we didnt show the work of the ‘China Manet’ picture before showing more work from Anton’s long term project. I jsut DO NOT UNDERSTAND, as one example…..

    As for Magnum, here is a funny story. David and i met and became friends because the issue of women in Magnum was raised 3 years ago at Lighstalkers and i wrote then that I would never belong to a group that was so slanted toward men, as percentage…this created a dialog between the two of us. I know that david, as both a person and as a teacher (in his workshops) never discriminates, and has made it a mandate to foster and promote equality…..

    however, is it possible that in a world where MORE THAN half of the photographers studying photography and exhibiting in galleries are WOMEN but much much much fewer are publishing books or are represented, there is an inherent inadequacy in the vision of those who maintain the status quo….

    If you’re talking about the entirety of photography, there are just as many female photographers as male photographers, at least as a percentage in n.america and europe (i dont know about s.america, africa, asia, australia). the problem is not getting women to enter the profession, it’s a problem that has to do with sustainability….and that comes with male hegemony, both financial and psychological, at least in the photographic world’ i’ve practiced in for 10 years. though the work exhibited (all types of photography) seems relatively even, by far it seems the bigger perks are tossed to the boys…

    we’ve got a long long long way to go….but, i’d really love to hear from Lisa, or Rita or Tanya or Marina or Katharina or Carolyn or any of the other women who day in and day out ply their trade and run into this…..

    I dont wish to sound so negative, but as a photographer, as a person married to a photographer, this issue is one of the fuse-lit ones that still mystify me….

    Think about this….i believe only 2 women have won the World Press PHoto Picture of the Year award….only 2….and the first of which was only 10 years ago….the Pulitzer is much much better, but i think at this time in history, it is not enough to suggest that Documentary work, let alone the Hard News stuff (like Conflict PHotography) is the domain of men…it is not…and we need to square ourselves with this…


  • I would guess that woman just have more sense. I think you have to be quite selfish to rise to the top and most woman just arn’t that stupid.

  • A civilian-mass audience


    VIVA !!!

  • Referring to Bob B’s comment, it’s also interesting to look at the jurors list of the EPF..

  • ……photographing women?

  • love to conspiracy theories, sorta makes me want to say: Get Real.

    should we also say that this is interesting as it’s chaired by a women?


  • Hey David! I remember we spoke about this topic of women photographer who are often more talented than man but rarely arrive to the top with Chenoa… She said that is becouse women are taken less seriously as an investment by agencies & co cause there is always the risk that at certain point they will prefer to have children and family life. For me it can be a sensibility problem: the same sensibility that helps women when they make pictures makes it more difficolt for them to react after a delusion and to stand up in difficolt periods. My opinion… than I don’t know… Lately i was speaking with some male colleagues who are struggling more or less like I do and I really realized which is the gap between me tham and me… they insist and insist and insist, are able to call the same person 100 times if this person will not answer, they never give up… I am not able to do this, I give up after the second time, and most of my female colleagues are exately like this. Don’t know if all the girls have this problem but most of my close friends actually do!

  • I am a woman with a camera. I was told by some that I was not bad. When I read this discussion, I felt something and I wanted to say something, all those things I’ve experienced and all those theories I’ve learned and read and questioned, but I found myself more inclined to be silent, almost silent in the end, because I am now at the edge of giving up, partly because I am a woman, a woman from Asia and not too young.


  • “X” I feel like you, and more than few girls I know also… this is the difference with boys… we are not able to come back and knock to a doar that was shutted in ouer face. Boys does. They may be not better than us shooting but they are stronger to survive in the cinic business world. Maybe this is reason why we don’t emerge. I don’t feel discriminated cause I know also my male-collegues has difficolt times, has doars shutten in their faces, ecc… Is just that sometimes I feel I am not stronger like they are to handle all this…

  • ooh guys I don’t know “why are there not more women in Magnum” and think it’s fantastic that burn has found a way to contribute to jenn..


    I don’t know if I am an anomaly in my gender, but I’m not feeling the pain..I love being a photographer, I love being a female photographer, I love being a working (and paid) photographer and I am happily receiving awards and the like..I see no shut doors. True, I haven’t sought representation, but I’m not about to expect that doors will suddenly be closed to me when I do..

    But I hear you, yes, this seems to be a real issue, and reading what X has to say I am saddened..I just say let the work speak, let the work be so compelling that it rises to the top despite any inadequacies in the system..let no one stop you from living your vision..and at the same time if you meet discrimination face to face, confront it heartily.

  • It is so strange to read this. As a 25 year old Australian photographer I can safely say that women are actually over represented in photography here. Our two most celebrated photo artists- Patricia Piccini and Samantha Everton, are both dedicated, hard working photographers but also lovely normal human beings who have families, partners and still have risen to dizzying heights with there work. I guess it depends on the work you do. Trente Parke’s partner ( or wife) Narrelle Autio is considered one of Australia’s finest photographers, though I doubt anyone outside of Australia has heard of her.
    I do see women steering away from documentary that involves running off somewhere exotic and photographing misery and war. In that feild we are definately under represented which I think is maybe a good thing, as Harry said, maybe most women are simply less ruthless and in that feild it seems you need to be a great self promoter and quite a hardend person. As a woman who specializes in photodocumentary I do find the viewpoint women bring tends to be more sentimental- I know that is something I struggle with in my work.
    – but I also think when women follow stories we can do it intimately are often without as much ego, simply because we have so few idols to look up too and therefore it’s easy to have a pure sense of what your doing without trying to be a caricature of a war photographer.

    That being said, I’ve met more than a few women with a rolleiflex and an unhealthy Arbus obsession!

  • Of course the problem occur mostly in documentary and photojournalism and cannot be denied cause number that David and Bob posted speak. I agree it is not a discrimination issue. It is difficolt for everyone, of every age and every gender, especially this days. I think that girls are not weaker than boys when it comes to get up early, don’t sleap, walk all day, be hot, be cold, be in danger, be away from home, ecc… they are just weaker when they have to knock to doars again and again. I really see this in many girls, including myself…

  • P.S.: Erica btw I also love to be a woman photographer, it happen so often that I can make it to shoot in places where men have problems of scaring people, ecc… but I see that if in this side I am advantaged I am disadvanged when I have to handle the “cinic business world”. But well I hope that is also cause I don’t have so much experience and I hope I will improuve ;-)

  • Albertina, I know exactly what you mean..i was in a situation shooting today that would probably had a man in big trouble..but as far as the business world, etc..i think we all have places that we naturally gravitate too and we shouldn’t worry too much about being what we are not naturally..I try to learn to use my gifts and see the strengths in my weaknesses.

  • JOE

    You are an unbelievably righteous, misogynist and not terribly intelligent pundit whose personal attack on me at Duckrabbit shows the incredible naievity and stupidity of the ‘tighty, whitey man’


    Don’t let people like Joe make you give up photography, its just bully boy tactics…


    I have been a working photographer for half of my life, I have not been nurtured by ANY family, society or organisation. What I have done I have done pretty much by myself and on my own reconisance.

    I have scrubbed toilets, wrapped posters around poles in the dead of night and strapped Gai Waterhouses horses at 4am every morning to make enough money to continue with the photos that I take that are uniformly ignored by grants committees and publications.

    Every now and then I get a small break and I get a glimmer of hope in through the door and it keeps me going. I have operated outside the status quo for all my career, so that I can be an ardent critic of it. I would like people to pay more attention to many of the issues that I raised in the Duckrabbit article and I will fight to my dying breath to be able to hear the strong voices and stories of men and women of different cultures, races, religions, genders and sexualities.

    I love a good story.

    But until people actually realise that it is a continual process of reminding people that they are ‘allowed’ to talk and thay are ‘safe’ to do so then most of those stories will remain unheard.

    Why are there no more than 8 women in Magnum? Perhaps its because many of the people that vote the new nominees in have never heard of the people that apply and therefore don’t feel that the potential members have sufficient ‘gravitas’ Who knows, Magnum just seems like an old boys club to me now.

    I hate to say this but where is its relevance when all its churning out is similiar stories by similiar people? (God I can hear the howls of protestations on this side of the earth at my slinging poo at the holier than holy’s of a sacred cow- not by the members mind you, but at all the support people around it)

    But really if there aren’t women applying for Magnum, why don’t people look a little deeper… perhaps in most women’s experience, being ignored is endemic so why bother trying to be heard?

    I have to go and shoot right now, a crappy ‘event’ job. Its a waste of my experience and talent but you know what it pays the bills. Homelessness is not that fun if you have dependents. However at least I am shooting.

    Now I expect this to be greeted by lots of nastiness and its a hasty thing I have written here, but I will take anyone on on any point of this, if they keep it civil.



  • Lisa, now you’ve lost me. This just sounds like a screed from someone with a chip on her shoulder. I’m a little surprised. There are so damn many really excellent photographers waiting tables and cleaning toilets to keep working. It’s just so competitive out there. Pulitzer Prize winning male photographers are now struggling to get enough work to pay their bills.

    Taking refuge behind the idea that your sex is the only thing holding you back from success is a sure prescription for failure.

  • Lisa,

    oh get over it. “‘tighty, whitey man’”? Wow, you just played the gender AND the race card in one short sentence fragment. You qualify for the world record. Congratulations, Lisa. I didnt realize my gender was an automatic ticket to Magnum, VII or the WPP award! Wow, how stupid of me, here I was thinking that the photographic world is a tough business where dog eats dog and you have to be brilliant to emerge, and even more so to get into Magnum or VII.

    But really, Im glad that the 8 women in Magnum never swallowed your kool-aide, Lisa, they would just be bitter instead of being Magnum.

  • why are there no more than 8 women in magnum?
    why is there just one female dentist or only one female family physician?
    why is there just one female surgeon in my entire county?

    for whatever reasons or whatever answers there would be to my questions,
    what separates anyone from another is resilience, fortitude and integrity.
    none of these heartaches beget sympathy or respect, unfortunately.
    hardest to fight cynicism and the politics within ourselves.
    we all bleed red.

  • … why there is NO female… USA president…
    so far…???

  • women..
    Dorothea Lange
    Maggie Steber…
    Sally Mann…
    I once read that Jesse (Sally’s daughter) said,
    “the photos my mom took of me was how she connected with me… ”
    its tricky having to balance it all,
    but it’s not just in photography..
    In every field you will find these statistics…
    and in every field you will find

  • 2PAC,
    use to say… “its a man’s world babeeee….”

  • … unfortunately , it is….
    …and im speaking as as a man… i believe..

  • ……. so,
    if a “man” is unemployed..
    imagine a “woman”…
    today.. almost 2010… from Tehran to LA…
    same shit… racism, ignorance, bad parenting, future criminals…
    oh well…
    i will CELEBRATE and drink for each and every “woman” in magnum,
    or in any job in general….for buddha’s shake..:))))))

  • I have contained my anger long enough and I knew this would turn nasty because I voiced an opinion…

    And of course the people (where are you Joe, Herve?) that I thought would react most acutely and quickly have. Rafal, for your information the ‘tighty, whitey’ comment was not directed at you. It was directed at Joe. Perhaps you should learn to contain your emotions ‘eh? This is not all about you.

    Perhaps its the whole idea of having to fight with the likes of you guys that puts people off Jim, Joe, Rafal, Herve.

    Tell me have you all been working as professional photographers for twenty years?
    Have you put your blood sweat and tears into a career where you have (just for one example) seen someone you trained as an assistant get given a job over the top of you because well he was a guy? Have you ever been told no that you couldn’t do a job because you were a man? God one of the first jobs I went out on as an assistant myself the art director said to the male photographer ‘Anthony, how trendy- a woman assistant!’

    I can tell you its only in the last decade things have started getting better. And thats because the likes of me have screamed and yelled in the past.

    And why did I even bother entering into thiser, discussion, knowing in advance how you (Jim, Rafal) would react? Really it was what X said that brought me into this.

    Her silence is the issue. She should feel safe enough and empowered enough by other women and men to be able to tell her story as a photographer, but she doesn’t. DON”T YOU GUYS GET IT?

    You guys don’t allow anyone to say anything different to the status quo without calling people bitter or saying that they are hiding behind their sex. Or I am just being emotional or making it all about me… (or what other classics can any of you ladies out there think of that I am sure you have been accused of at some point in the past)

    What you Rafal and Jim have said is all BULLSHIT! I knew that giving a shove to your little club by association would get you going.

    I am just realistic and experienced when it comes to this industry. And I am a damn sight tougher than you would believe. So don’t even try your nasty little put downs with me because it is obvious that you know nothing about me or my life- if you did you would realize that I would just ignore you anyway.

    I watched Gayle Hegland get crucified by this kind of nastiness and bullying over at lightstalkers. I will only comment on what I see as an injustice. And that is that X doesn’t want to continue because she feels her voice is not being heard.


    There are a great number of really fantastic women photojournalists and documentary photographers in Australia. Kate Geraghty is one of the best, you can see her work at the SMH and she has been the Walkley’s Photographer of the Year twice I believe. She is a great human being. There is Narelle Autio, Tamara Dean, Tamara Voninski, Jenny Evans (who with her husband won a WPP Award for an essay on Horse Racing) They are all great women and great photographers who have all worked on newspapers. And I know Narelle and Tamara both have children. Then there is Lee Grant, who is a art/doco photographer whose work is just fantastic. Any of these women could qualify for Magnum.

    And there are a few more I could name as well that are probably even lesser known. Lee is working on a site that positively encourages women to show their work and Sandy Edwards (also a photographer) is leading the charge in curating exhibitions. There has been a policy of ‘positive discrimination’ for a while here in Australia, where I believe there is more and more opportunities opening up for women. Which beggars the question yet again, why is this not reflected within the ranks of Magnum?

    Perhaps it is just not relevant for many women to be interested in it? Or perhaps an active program of ‘positive discrimination’ can be started. I am very glad that Jenn Ackermann’s work is getting a bit of a boost. Its great work and it was my pick to win the EPG. At least I would have liked to have see it win. And do you know what, I also believe that only a woman could have done such a great job.

    So thats the positive stuff, I would just like to see much, much more of it.

    And to all you guys out there that don’t get it… Boo- Sucks to you!

  • go ahead…LISA……….:))))
    TELL IT LIKE IT IS…!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • lisa,

    i really do get what you are saying in a lot of ways. I have had an editor tell me not to worry about getting my foot in the door, as i am attractive therefore doors will open.

    you really can’t make that stuff up, can you??

    . that being said i think that not being given a chance ( over here in Aus anyways) is pretty much universal. i have some freinds, both male and female that are amazing photographers and given the financial backing could become something incredible. Yet i watch the same tired crap getting funded…..( another issue for another day)
    That is what inspires me about burn- that people takes the time to look at your work- that people can look at what is on the screen, not at you face and body and make an honest judgement. and to be honest for me, working for magnum is not the ultimate goal, I don’t see it as something i would really chase. maybe that once again has to do with having less female magnum members to idolize- there is less mystique for us, there are few smokin, swearing, hardened female photographers that many women would want to emulate. Not so much for my male counterparts who seem to all want to shoot like natchwey but act like a cowboy.

    i think we could probably talk privately for hours about the clique-iness of australian photography, art and funding in general, but i must thank and commend you for sticking through those dark years and “screaming and yelling”, cos if it weren’t for you I am sure i wouldn’t be here!

  • I am totally non-professional, have no idea about women in the profession.

    I know that from the other side, that is simply appreciating photography and its history, it is hard for me to think of another medium where many women have carved such an important place, at the top.

    Bob, Testosterone? :-)))) you are funny. in a thread where we could think a women would be the one who have the most to say, nope, no way, it’s you again… ;-)

    Lisa, you ask for people to be civil, but you started your post by a violent attack on someone…. ?!?!?

  • I don’t disagree with the stats, but the reasoning; well there is no reasoning except Jim’s pretty convincing reasons as opposed to Lisa and Bob’s rant. Lisa actually reminds me of all the parents that want to blame Beavis and Butthead for why their children act like idiots and don’t take responsibility for their actions.

    Lisa, do you think maybe it’s your personality that’s the issue? You do often manage to annoy people; it happens almost every time you participate, thus you almost always having to clarify yourself for the people you’ve ‘incidentally’ offended. Mere coincidence?

    If you’re abrasive, people will find it unappealing to work with you. That happens for both men and women. as a manager of just as many women as men, managers place loads of importance on team harmony, right now it would be easy to describe you as a team-play time-bomb Lisa. I think you should start there if you’d like to get more favourable results with your career.

    As for me I do think it’s very healthy to have equal gender not because of statistics, but because of team harmony, luckily my profession has an equal quantity of candidates in both gender or Lisa would be witch-hunting in my world as well.

  • Bravo Lisa!!! Keep telling it as it is!! I’m not a woman – only sometimes when cross-dressing – but it seems obvious that the carpeted corridors of this ‘open door’, ‘closed door’ industry are a reflection of society’s norms at large (in terms of ‘power-play’ and decision making). It would be naive to believe that the photo-world is a democracy. It isn’t. It’s an oligarchy. And it’s not just gender & race (and class) – but what’s intrinsically bound up with that – intellectual, aesthetic monopolies and protectivism on and around what is ‘visually’ acceptable, digestible etc – and what isn’t.
    Of course there’re the few exceptions, there always are, always have been and always will be, but it’s a shame we need to point them out as examples of ‘exceptions-to-the-rule’ as opposed to examples of ‘sheer excellence’ or pure ‘exception’ in their own right. Or maybe that too is one and the same thing…with or without its ‘context.’ It’s healthy to remember there’s always an underground. An alternative.
    ‘Make picture of kaleidoscope.’ William H Fox Talbot, 1839

  • God, Joe, you read like a politician. Have a nice day

  • Every country is a different case. Here in NZ women have a pretty high profile in modern photography e.g Ans Westra, Marti Friedlander. There is also a large representation of Maori and Pacifica (Auckland is the city with the highest Pacific Island population in the South Pacific) people in all arts; including music,dance, photograhy and all arts. Our arts scene in general is very diversified. But we have had a long history of positive action to get diversity into the arts.

    E.g. our hip hop/r&b scene has been given its own “Pacific” flavour through our Pacific Island poulation picking it up and making it their own.

    One area where women do dominate is on the editorial staff of most magazines. I did a rough calculation and would say that for the magazines I work for the ratio would be about 10 women editors to every 2 or 3 male editors. I’m not sure about newspapers because I don’t work in that arena.

    One reason I love doing editorial work is that your work is judged on its merits, not on an “old boy’s network” or whether you hold a degree (which I don’t….). My editors don’t give a toss whether you’ve got a MA in photography or whether you’re an ex-supermarket worker (like me!), they judge the work. I hardly ever get to meet my editors face to face.

    Commercial/advertising may be different too, there maybe discrimination in face to face meetings.

    This is only my experience of the scene here in New Zealand, so is not representative for every country.


  • Good morning ladies and gentlemen!
    there is already a good debate on the way, so here comes my contribution to the discussion.
    First of all I think it is sad to see that women still have to fight for their share and their acceptance in this businness.
    Actually I rarely think much about the male or female question in my everyday business. During my time studying photography we were always a mixed bunch and the ladies did as fine a job as the men, many times even much better. And later in the professional life they are as good, as competative and as hard working as the men and some of them have children as well. Today most of my colleagues are women. So, I cannot see such a big difference. Okay, we have chancellor Angela Merkel as well and in Germany there are many women who are in high positions in order to make decisions. The fight for women rights have been going on here for many, many years. So, it might still be a male dominated society, but it certainly becomes more and more liberal and open.
    However I also experienced true discrimination against women. Some men who can make decisions prefer to be surrounded by young pretty females. A fine colleague of mine who is a great character, smart, honest and funny, but she just doesn’t fit into the image of the cliché type of a pretty women. She is a strong women and a sword fighter and she carries around her sword when she comes back from a practise session and she looks like the Highander. Probably most men get confused by this. Anyway, she had no chance to get a job simply because of her outer appearance. She told me about it several times and it was really sad to hear this. Luckily a different company found out about her true values and gave her a chance. I was very happy for her.
    In photography I see as many good female photographers as male. Personally I would not judge someone’s work by his or her sex. If you take great pictures, you take great pictures. Full stop!
    Everybody should get a fair chance and in the Declaration of Independence you have this wonderful sentence: all men and women are created equal!


    I know I carry on a bit, but you know what Morganna has absolutely made my day!

    I am glad you are out there and seeing editors and knocking at doors and yes lets have a coffee and its cliquey here for sure and the thing is that the good thing about being women is we can support one another differently to the way men support one another.

    Interestingly the people that have given me my jobs in the industry have always tended to be other women, or men from different cultural backgrounds to standard white Aussie men.

    I would just like to see a world based on fairness and equality while maintaining its diversity… Is that too much to ask? (hehehehehe….)

    But Joe is right on one thing, no I don’t make a whole lot of friends by always questioning the status quo but the people who are real and human and not shallow have remained my friends forever and I would do anything for them and I hope that they know that. And it doesn’t matter to me who, what, where or why they are from, as long as they are ‘true’ human beings… (though one or two of my friends have said they were aliens, hehehehe….)

    As for being a team player? Why would I ever be that? Afterall it is the uniqueness of my own vision that keeps me going, not a ‘working for the man’ kind of mentality…

    I am seriously out of here now, while I have enjoyed the essays in the past and I don’t mind shaking things up, I have said my piece and now its up to other voices to say theirs…

    Goodluck with it!

  • Lisa,
    people who question the status quo are vital!
    I know it is your decision, but I like to ask you: Please stay!
    Don’t give in or simply quit. We need your voice here at burn!

  • Hi,

    I have never felt discrimination as woman photographer, but I haven’t tried really to knock doors…
    I don’t know why the women abandon… maybe is it the precariousness of the profession that it is difficult to reconcile with the project to do a family?

    best, audrey

  • As an aside; My post was not a rebuttal of Lisa’s posts. I just wanted to show what affirmative action can achieve. I was thinking the other day (because of Lisa’s posts) just how far we have come in NZ, mostly due to affirmative action!!!

    Take care everyone

  • Lisa,

    no offense, but maybe the guy got the job because he is a better photographer than you? And no, I’m not a professional working photographer, and I actually would rather never be one. Two reasons. One is that I am not interested in shooting what doesnt interest me, and two is that when top name guys are having trouble making money even though they have big names, its not really a profession for me. I’m doing an MBA and will stay away from photography as a career leaving for myself the beauty of photography as personal work.

    As far as your reaction, its also probably safe to say that of you are this unstable and emotional, the guy got the job because he doesnt blow his lid over the smallest things. This isnt a remark about women, this is a remark about you and what Ive seen from you on Burn and before that on Road Trips.

    And if anyone is afraid of speaking up on an internet blog of all places, then perhaps its not my or Herve’s or Joe’s or Jim’s fault that they dont have the guts to bust through open doors.

  • Don’t know in other countries… but actually here in Italy a lot of doars are shutted more or less for everyone who is not already known. Boys or girls does not matter, there is not discrimination, it sucks for all the freelances. Even who is already an experienced photographer has problems to carry on with photojournalism. When you ask to a magazine/photoeditor to see your work normaly they turn you down before even looking… But well… I know people who phoned everyday to same person for months to be recived, and one who even camped outside an agency to be taken in consideration… they are all boys. We girls are often not able to do so. IMO this is ouer weakness… Just a small amount arrive to the TOP (Magnum, WPP, ecc…) cause the rest abandon their ambitions when they find big obstaclols and give up or just remain in the limbo of the emerging photographers for ever.

  • let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater. Even though Lisa’s crusade is a bit empty and self-serving, it doesn’t mean there isn’t gender discrimination for different reasons. There is still loads of gender discrimination and it’s slow to change, but i think it’s slow to change because people are slow to understand the issue at a more elemental level, so people find it difficult to correct.

    first you have to break out the concept of ‘discrimination’ from ‘optimisation of commercial behaviour’. Commercial behaviour often looks like discrimination and i’ll try to suggest in a second: commercial behaviour that’s based on fallacy does in fact become discrimination.

    for me discrimination is best measured when the best candidate to satisfy the open role doesn’t get the job, this is why affirmative action is discrimination, but we know affirmative action can be healthy for periods of time for specific places. Affirmative-action aside, when the most capable candidate to satisfy an open role ‘does not’ get selected then things begin to smell bad.

    holding affirmative action to the side for now, before things can smell bad you need to have a population of capable candidates, this is where i think no one has proven with any degree of confidence that the population of capable candidates are equal, quite the opposite, the statistics suggest that the count of capable candidates is skewed in the profession, but let’s leave that alone, as that’s not where the ugliest discrimination actually takes place.

    discrimination often takes place further down the career path for women, it’s the fork in the road that happens when a women performs the most beautiful act imagined and brings life into the world, it’s also when she takes maternity leave. This is where commercial behaviour starts to get loads of things tangled.

    most entities, whether it’s a newspaper, magazine or a manufacturing plant, have a competitive mission. This competitive mission uses a team of people that the entity has invested in and thus become valuable assets to the mission. The smaller the entity the more reliant it is on specific individuals. Judges are actually more likely to pardon a sole-propriety from jury duty than an employee of a large organisation for this very reason. So in this same spirit, it’s naïve to think that these same entities often feel disadvantaged by the fact that women often leave the entity and possible never return. If you were very, very. very short-sighted (and most entities are) it does not seem ‘commercially optimal’ to invest in a gender that ‘seems’ more likely to walk out the door with the entity-fostered investment.

    this issue is compounded by the propensity for women often wishing to come back to work part-time after they’ve had a child, and often only to leave again for a second and third child causing further interruption to the entity’s resourcing and thus weaken the entities ability to compete.

    i think this kind of ‘human-race-important’ behaviour is the crux of the discrimination. Although there is loads of legislation in place to reduce gender discrimination for maternity leave, i think its mal-impact to decision making is still running ramped. Specifically, i’m certain there are women that are reading this thread that have attempted to return to their role from maternity leave, possible part-time, only to be treated like a second-class citizen, and more often than not at a marginalised position. How many wedding/family photographers do you know that were born out of this injustice? I know a few; ironic don’t you think?

    This is disgraceful for obvious reasons, but its become even more absurd when you look at the productivity studies of part-time employees and also the ability for individuals to manage teams without being a full-time employee. There is some very compelling research proving the commercial-concern is best served by part-time mothers and more so, mothers that have not had their managerial (team-lead) roles marginalised due to part-time participation.

    i must admit, i personally don’t have the answers on how to prevent women that have taken time off from their career to re-enter without being disadvantaged, any advice other than keep very good documentation of your ‘quality’ performance before you left. i do personally think regardless of the ‘seemingly’ disadvantaged commercial circumstances women are a valuable competitive asset to have for the harmony and productivity of the team, even at a part-time level and even with the business interruptions.

    i guess if there was a crusade to wage for women it would have to be the fair re-entry for females after maternity leave; it’s a benefit all around, but it’s not a crusade to make the population of women in any entity equal, especially if the population of quality candidates is not equal.

  • Lisa, perhaps if you were to deflect that energy toward photography and away from activism, you would achieve your goals more quickly. What do you really think of successful women photographers? That they sold out? That they became successful despite the obstacles? Aren’t you then indicting yourself?

    I’m against any kind of discrimination, but you seem to have a different agenda.

  • A civilian-mass audience

    TO ALL,

    “From the viewpoint of absolute truth, what we feel and experience in our ordinary daily life is all delusion. Of all the various delusions, the sense of discrimination between oneself and others is the worst form, as it creates nothing but unpleasant”
    Dalai Lama

    “Human potential is the same for all. Your feeling, “I am of no value”, is wrong. Absolutely wrong. You are deceiving yourself. We all have the power of thought – so what are you lacking? If you have willpower, then you can change anything. It is usually said that you are your own master.”
    Dalai Lama

    I might be an Alien( Lisa, that’s for YOU :))…Ufo (where are you KATIEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE…BUT …I will never stop fighting for what I believe!!!

    and I believe in ALL OF YOU …
    YOU hold a power…don’t underestimate that…
    now it’s time to have that glass of Ouzo!!! LOVEEEEEEEEEEEE

  • David … a heartfelt pitch for more women to receive recognition. Brilliant. A few weeks ago you put the lack of diversity in the industry down to ‘taste’. I think that you were just back from the LOOK3 festival. I’d wonder if you might consider John Edwin Mason’s thoughts on this matter (link at the bottom). He would swap your word ‘taste’ for another word,’tribalism’. I think that he has more than a point?

    Do you remember rocking up at a beach in Cuba to photograph child survivors of Chernobyl? You kindly gave a lift back to a young British photographer who had made the same journey off his own back? Just you, him and your crew. Now he’s the photography half of duckrabbit. Amazing how small this tribe is!

    To everyone else … I first discovered this site a few months ago. I’d never heard of DAH, (I’m a radio documentaries producer not a photographer) but I was blown away with his generosity of his spirit. At the same time I was disappointed by the the few who seem to be only on the take here. As an outsider, it looked to me that David was in danger of curating a pantomime. I wrote as much. That’s just me being honest as to what it looks like as an outsider. Many of the comments turn it into bitchfest. Just with less depth. There’s so much noise and so little respect.

    Again as an outsider, I see photographs, but rarely connect with the people in them. That makes me think that this site is only really for photographers. That’s great, but I do believe that photography can be so much more.

    Is there a danger that Burn becomes a whirlpool?

    The work to me often speaks of a lack of confidence, just to be a good listener.

    All my working life, traveling and collecting stories with a microphone, has always been about respect, about the need for all of us to listen and about how precious and powerful a single voice raised in the act of a storytelling can be.

    Where are the Joseph Rodriguez’s of this years generation?

    no group of individuals encounters more situations outside of their own world than do photographers and

  • A correction (apologies) … there is no real lack of diversity in photography … just in certain circles, with a certain power and so called authority.

  • I was really grateful for DAH’s involvement in the Inge Morath Award this year, as I am every year for Magnum’s ongoing support and enthusiasm. I’d like to expand on one aspect of David’s history of the Award, and to answer Crystal’s question about the age limit.

    The IM Award was created by Magnum as David describes, but in addition to honoring Inge Morath’s legacy one of the unspoken objectives was to bring more work by women photographers to the organization. This objective began to be fulfilled when the IM Foundation took over organizing and spreading word about the Award (basically institutionalizing it), and was realized in earnest in 2008, when Olivia Arthur, who won the Award in ’07, applied for and became a Magnum nominee. I don’t mean to imply that every Award winner will ultimately be (or should even wish to be) made a Magnum member. Rather, the Award was a response to a problem both within Magnum and in the larger field of photojournalism. And, in a small way (ie, to the extent that such a small grant is capable), I think that it has had some positive impact on the field, within Magnum, and for the individual photographers who have been winners and finalists.

    The age limit for the Award was decided by the photographers when the Award was created. There have been several discussions about changing it (never about eliminating it), but that seems unlikely at this point. The fundamental argument against change is: don’t fix what’s not broken. The level of submissions is consistently high in both numbers and quality. David did bring the subject up at the AGM last week, probably not realizing that I had extensively but unsuccessfully argued the case for change of the age limit after last year’s meeting. On the other hand, changes that I’ve requested in order to reach a more diverse audience have been approved by Magnum and are in progress. I hope that the Award will continue to grow and to be of importance in spite of this limitation.


    John Jacob
    Inge Morath Foundation

  • duckrabbit –

    very intelligent observations… they make me think stuff over yet again.


  • There are not enough/too many….men, women, old people, young people, black people, hispanics, Asians, Native Americans, gays, catholics, muslims, etc. etc. on and on. Oh dear, I thought we were past this kind of ridiculous discussion.

    There are hordes of successful women in the portrait business. If there are more women than men should we get alarmed and institute special programs to recruit more men?

    As Audrey and others have pointed out, gender roles do exist. I’m not disputing that gender and other types of discrimination still exist. However does anyone have any serious evidence other than statistics that it exists in the photographic world, Magnum specifically?

  • Perhaps its the whole idea of having to fight with the likes of you guys that puts people off Jim, Joe, Rafal, Herve.

    Lisa, obviously, you are using some personal grudge you have against me in this debate, where I have absolutely no part, did not even write anything here before you said that, but I have to be the butt of your vilification. I will repeat again what I have said before. Do not judge people you don’t know and have never met. And good luck on finding amything I said here or on RTrip that was mysogynistic…

    Also, for someone who likes to quote the Buddha, you don’t seem to let go too easily of pented anger and unforgiveness.

  • ACAMA :-)))))

    Actually, I would say that even the Dalai Lama thinks it’s some times OK to be unpleasant. Like, he does not really please the chinese! :-)

    Buddhism, as it became a creed, was not a very woman inclusive practice, and so, was definitely discriminanting against women on that matter of who can take on the life of a devotee. Buddha apparently had to be convinced time and time over again to let women in, and as it happened, they were not given full monkhood status, equal to the men in the Sangha. To this day, many countries will not ordain women as B monks (Thailand is one).

    For his defense, he had doubts that he should go public and teach about what he had found. This guy was about to discriminate against all genders. Not that he did not have a point that we wouldn’t quite get it…. Even Francis of Assisi did a better job with birds! :-)

  • Herve, in Thailand where I’ve lived for the past 16 years, they become nuns….

  • And nuns in Thailand aren’t B monks as you say, they’re nuns

  • I wonder how the statistics line up in the non-professional (which I am) world. If there are more men who are serious photographers across the board? I also wonder if I was given a set of images of look at, would I likely be able to tell if they were taken by a man or a woman.
    For myself, I find both positives and negatives to be a woman attempting to do documentary work. Being a woman in her sixties, I am not perceived as a “threat” in most instances. However, I find it challenging sometimes to give myself “permission” to pursue this when I am not making money and have family responsibilities–especially an aging parent at the moment. We each have our own definition of success and have ourselves as well as those on the outside to answer to. If generalizations can be made, I believe women are often intuitive–can often see the reality, the human aspects of their subjects–and often have compassion and a connection with them. In telling the story, in generating understanding in others, this can be very valuable. Growing up in the South in the 50’s, almost every field was male dominated except teaching, nursing, and secretarial work. It is interesting that there were more women than men applying to US medical schools 2009 and that there are so many men in nursing now. I am pleased for Cristina and believe that the doors will continue to open. It is important that they open so that talented and motivated women are given the oppurtunites they deserve. It is good to see men wanting this to happen.

  • thank god hillary clinton is NOT the president of the united states of america….

  • A civilian-mass audience

    It looks that we might all need a glass of wine after all…
    right Hereveeee !!!

    As Erica once asked …”WHAT DID YOU SHOOT TODAY ?”

    BURNIANS… Focus…damnit:))))

  • Congrats Jenn!

    I’ve been following the discussion here and as it just happens, this morning I was talking to a friend and female collegue of mine about our bussiness and we both felt that as a female photographer we are often not taken seriously.
    Maby it is because they think we couldn’t be up to something exciting, or that we might only do soft stories, or whatever other prejudices there are out there. Or maby it’s got nothing to do with gender at all. I’ll never really know, and don’t even want to waist to much time and energy over it.

    I love being a (female) photographer and I won’t let anybody get me down or make me feel bad about what I’m doing.
    If people don’t like my work or don’t even bother taking the time out to have a look at it, it’s their loss. And it motivates me to even work harder as well.

    Most of my heroes in photography are women. Not because of gender, but because of their work.
    Alexandra Boulat, Jodi Bieber, Susan Meiselas, Eve Arnold to name but a few.
    Like Erica said, I hope the work will speak for itself.
    And no matter what happens, what people might say, I just try to keep on telling stories that I feel that need to be told.

  • I’m not at all concerned that some of the contests and agencies like Magnum recognize fewer women than might be desired specifically because these avenues are not the only means to present the work of women photographers. In other words, if a photographer doesn’t win the big contest or is not represented by Magnum, she can still have a perfectly viable career and her work is still available to me.

    I follow the work of many women photographers, some of whom are part of this very website. I have no trouble finding the excellent work of women photographers; the fact that they are not members of Magnum or winners of the World Press award makes no difference. Their work finds me without my having to make too much of an effort, and this is a good thing.

    Anyone, including us here on BURN, who is serious about photography has or will have a career that in no way resembles that of our forebears. The world has changed, the media has changed, the photography industry has changed, and photography has changed. Seeking out the validation of the legacy institutions is fine, but there is just not enough validation to go around and too few organizations from which to seek it. Personally, I would rather have 100,000 blog readers and an active, participatory audience than an award from the photo industry.

    Yes, I am male, and this is a thread about women photographers — I’m just arguing that women, no less than men, have more avenues and opportunities to advance their work than at any time in history. And if you need validation, you are in for a rough ride.

  • Dear David, I was one of your ‘followers’ MPW, Havana October 1999. I have not left Cuba yet! I am not aware that I am a WOMAN artist as such. I feel like one of ‘the guys’. Thanks for Burn. Susan Bank

  • Civi..

    i changed things up today..i gave myself a day to look at my project differently/released myself from the day’s obligations and routines, I don’t even know what I shot but my mind kept opening, different light, different time of day..really strange after 9 months of shooting this as daily as I am able (pretty much on 2 avenues, each 29 blocks long) to see things anew..summer rocks :) I finally realized I did the smartest thing ever by beginning the street portion of the project in october..oct – april are some pretty challenging months to find city stories out on the street, now i feel like it’s Christmas every day..thanks for asking!

  • Susan Bank.

    Nice to see you here. Met you at Review Santa Fe a few years ago. Glad you are still working in Cuba.
    Love your project.

  • civi

    I spent the weekend on Lasqueti Island, visiting friends and going to the annual arts fest. Music, art, food, good friends, an idylic setting. Love my life.


  • Well damn Gordon… I think I love your life, too!

    Much beauty you have there.


  • Luzz, relax..
    nobody said that Hillary is the president…
    All we said is that michael jackson is dead..
    big difference…
    afternoon from LA y’all…

  • A civilian-mass audience


    I love your website!

    P.S kalispera means good afternoon !!!
    Now mousakas on me!

  • A civilian-mass audience

    as soon as the Universe will give me a BIG amount of money I will BE a
    SPONSOR …:)


  • Civilian… Many thanks! How bout some ouzo?

  • Hey Micheal

    Love the stuff on your site, diggin’ the music on the Patomac feature. (The photos too)

  • Here is a photo of Nina Rajinsky in 1975 http://www.pbase.com/glafleur/image/111358922

    Nina was asked to contribute photos for a book published in that year by the National Film Board of Canada entitled ” The Female Eye” ( I have the book } She refused. She felt it was a joke and insulting to women. She wanted me and some other male photographers to submit photos with fake womans names. We never did submit photos but I agreed that it was ridiculous and insulting to women and to our intelligence.
    Yes, there is “female perspective”, but work needs to be judged on it’s merit, not the gender, colour, or nationality of it’s maker.

  • Herve, in Thailand where I’ve lived for the past 16 years, they become nuns….
    And nuns in Thailand aren’t B monks as you say, they’re nuns

    16 years? Maybe time to check out your facts…

    You can make a false debate just on how they are called, it won’t change the fact that nuns (or bikkunis, which is a mere distinction, not a status) in Thailand have no status within the Sangha that equals that of a monk. The line of ordination to become a bona fide bikkuni has been broken a long time ago, and this is the argument that the Sangha (the Sangha, originally the community of monks started by the Buddha, now being the religious authorities where monks belong, and which decides on Buddhist practices in Thailand) is using to defend its opinion that women cannot be ordained. The order of Bikkunis was always to be a special order, since the Buddhist Times, and it would be from that order that ordination would come.

    Oli, if women can become nuns, then tell me why it’s only boys who are becoming novices for a lent retreat, a season or longer, one of the most long standing tradition to honor your parents.

    Thsi is what I think you confuse (though, 16 years, seems like you’d know): Women in Thailand have become ever more numerous in funding temples and communities, and eager to practice just as monks, especially meditation. They don white robes to that effect, and it is not a rare occasion to see them around the land(Wat Songmetta is one such temple I am very familiar with in Chonburi Province) But just like in the Catholic religion, they are not accepted as priests/monks. They role is no more than that of practicing lay people, of which, many do indeed go in meditation retreats.

  • Wonderful, Gordon, we see your good heart thru these photos! (you are flirting a bit with over-exposure in some).

  • Back to Buddhism, I am not even sure that women can fund a temple of their own, if so, it must be under the authority of monks (like in Wat Songmetta).

    On thai buddhism and women, if you Oli, or anyone else is interested:


  • Yeah – good point herve – “it won’t change the fact that nuns (or bikkunis, which is a mere distinction, not a status) in Thailand have no status within the Sangha that equals that of a monk” – true, true, in a nut shell yes. But just to quickly say, there are more Buddhist nunneries now than there ever were, furthermore, the ‘status’ (and how they’re perceived) of renunciates and ‘mae-chii’ is also changing…shifting into newer territories – some are now highly respected/venerated for their ‘wisdom’ or meditation abilities, by both monks and most importantly society at large. There’s also a growing movement of women advocating institutional rights for the Mae-chii within the sangha. But like everything, this’ll take time before ( )…if ever – maybe.
    You’re right, it’s all small scale. But it’s something. And the Sangha remains like most religious institutions, conservative. It reflects the outer. Cheers

  • Herve
    Yes, I see tonight I made my conversions a little too light. I had sunlight streaming in my kitchen earlier while sitting at my laptop doing the RAW conversions.

  • dear panos,

    i’m very relaxed. just wanted to point out that it is better for everybody if hillary clinton is not the president and obama is. i dont think many complained that hillary lost because she’s a woman. that would be ridiculous as she was defeated by someone who is more minority than she. To me all this talking about women photographers having fewer opportunities makes little sense. In fact most photo editors are women and this confirms my belief (also sustained by many women i know) that very often the first enemies of women are their collegues women.
    as to michael jackson: he’s not much different now than he’s been in the past 15 years….at least he has found peace now. hopefully.

  • Thanks Oli, there are indeed outstnaidng women bouddhist in Thailand. Hell, outstanding women, period!

    I hope we can meet next I come to Thailand. That should be next winter…

  • let me rephrase that:

    There are outstanding Buddhist women in Thailand.

  • I think Preston get the point, probably most girls dream about magnum and WPP when they start; than in a certain point they realize that they are already happy with what they achieve and they don’t need to put themslefes to the edge.
    A question about a magnum woman photographer: why Maya Goded in not anymore in the nominees, what happened to her?

  • Gordon…

    Thanks! Took a long while to find the right musical accompaniment. But I think that one works. Thanks for noticing. Also, am working on another. Hope to have it up by end of summer.


    you need to speak with Maya……or with me in private…..


    yes, i do remember the Chernobyl victims and the ride back to Havana…funny we should meet again here….

    i am not sure about swapping out the word “taste” for “tribalism”, but you might have a point….maybe taste comes from tribalism …i am not sure….certainly “taste” come from all sorts of input including the “trends” that might come from “tribalism”..most people “develop taste” which could in many cases just mean influence by the “tribe”…in any case, an interesting thought…

    i just left London and too bad we did not meet if that is where you are…please contact me: http://www.david@burnmagazine.org if you have time…

    cheers, david

  • LISA….

    i think you totally misunderstand the process for getting into Magnum…a seven year minimum process that is all about the work and not about gender…..and you totally skipped over the fact that this “good old boys club” is the ONLY agency trying to do something about creating a balance …did you not read what i wrote???

    you and i spent ten days together, i worked very hard to help you with your work, and we have exchanged many a private e-mail….i have NEVER put you down have i??? scratching my bald head on this one my friend..

    big hug, david


    you are a talented and gifted photographer…i have told you this many times…you also well know that i have told you that i will help you all i can to achieve all that you can be….you have so much energy and good spirit and great photography….do not let anything get in your way…and by “anything” i mean allowing any energy draining thoughts into your head…please get in touch with me this summer in New York or when i am in Italy in a couple of weeks….so, what happened to the East L.A. work???

    un abbraccio grande, david

  • I think it is good that David brings the issue up. Yes, it has been discussed thousand times, and many are really bored by it.. But, as long as this problem exist, I think we can continue talking about it.. It is complex though
    Let´s start with the children thing: You hear it the whole time: ”she was a really good photographer, but hen she got children and…..” Or ”you can have all possibilities, you don´t have children…” Well, what do these sayings do to young female photographers? It creates a big fear of getting children, and that you have to be at your best before taking that step. You think: Shit, I have to hurry up to make a carrier, because the day I want children everything will be difficult. By the perfect age of getting a child (from a physic point of view), you are most likely not on the top of your carrier, just on the way there. The successful male photographers with children I know, have a really really patient girlfriend.
    After saying this, I know not all female photographers want children, I don’t mean to stigmatize all women by mention this as the main-thing. So please don’t misunderstand.
    One other thing I have seen through my years working in the newspapers and magazines. When big things happen, like tsunami, earthquakes, war, etc, nine out of ten times the editor will send a male photographer. Why? To say it in a very cynical way, this type of work often give the prizes in picture of the year etc, which will then go to the men.
    Also a female colleague of mine got this comment from the boss: You are not the best photographer that applied, but you are the only girl.
    When working and travelling around on my own taking pictures, I don’t face many problems just because I am a woman. Sometimes rather the opposite; I travelled in Greenland alone for weeks, and people would really care for me. Of course, some light sexual harassments would happen now and then, but it would be foolish to scream up, I don’t take it seriously.
    So personally I think being a woman with a camera is FANTASTIC in most ways, but sometimes the system is filled with too much testosterone.

  • Sorry to be off topic (maybe not…) but does anybody knows the news coming out of the Magnum meeting? Apart from Cristina, who’s in? And who’s out? Are there nominees this year?



    no new nominees this year….only Cristina Garcia Rodero accepted as a new full member….Mikail Subotsky went from nominee to associate….Olivia Arthur will be up for associate next summer…..Jakob Aue Sobol, Chris Anderson on deck for full membership next year….


    we are now trying to get your Body Work up soonest…..you should have an e-mail from Anton requesting the proper sizes , artist statement etc….your essay looks terrific….many thanks….

    cheers, david

  • Thanks Paul and DAH.

    Contradicting info… should I go with DAH’s as he’s the insider, the Minister of Education?
    The BJP says that Sobol stays as nominee, while Sanguinetti and Subotsky go up as associates. If i remember well, those three went in the same year… so who’s right? Normally Sobol should be up for full membership in two years time… And what about Anderson? He stays associate? Sometimes I wonder if it is really about the photography in Magnum. Sometimes it seems like it is about the Magnum photographers ‘caprices’ (whims in french)… What do you think?
    (Joining would be a good way to have this info… hmmm… but I am not a woman, I quit pro photography five years ago and I am 35. Is it too late?)

    Have a good day!

  • David, thanks.. I have mailed with Anton, but I told him you guys should have a look at my Greenland project, I have some new photos. I wondering if I rather want to publish that one now.. What do you think? If we can skype, I can show you the new work.

    Best, Andrea


    this is your choice…and i do like the Greenland story as well..two totally different animals and there is no reason not to publish them both…just with some separation i think…


    it is only about the photography and the growth of the photography in these individuals……that in turn affects these sometimes confusing categories, not the other way around…no whims…our first choice is always to move someone forward….you must remember Marcin, that you are not seeing what we are seeing…the portfolios , the books…we study these very very carefully….and when one moves from nominee to associate they must have all new work in those two years….from my point of view it seems that everyone wants to blame everyone and everything except the actual work of the photographer….some photographers we really really liked in the beginning just do not move from where they were…our primary concern is to find photographers who will have a lifetime of work, not just a couple of good years…i am sure you can understand this….while in life there can always be injustice, there can also be justice….i think there was justice at the meeting this year based on the work we were presented by the photographers mentioned here…

    sorry, i forgot who was where…yes, Sobol stays as nominee…Sanguinetti and Subotsky move to associate…Anderson stays as associate (which makes him and the others eligible for full membership as i said next year)…

    IT IS NEVER TOO LATE……remember, Bruce Gilden, Cristina Garcia Rodero and DAH all became full Magnum members after age 50…generally , it is better to be younger, but obviously not always…actually all of us who came in late actually were serious from an early age…we just came late to Magnum for a variety of personal reasons…

    some artists bloom young and go forever (Picasso) ..some start of with a bang and burn out quickly…others (like Matisse) flower late…

    cheers, david

  • If we are looking at age, Arbus is another good example, she wasn’t serious until around age 33, and passed away at age 48..that’s just 15 years of working in a dedicated way, and look what she produced. It really is never too late to make a commitment to what you love..

  • marcin luczkowski


    I think you comment was to Martin not to me. Am I right?

  • Andrea, I’m totally with what you said.

    I think generally speaking the whole children question is something we women put on ourselves…and this applies not just to photographers but to any woman who is quite career-minded. Yes it probably comes from the wider society but I think women tend to put a lot of pressure on themselves. Maybe to excel in a lot of fields we need to be control-freaks and this is an extension of that characteristic? I dunno.

    From a personal perspective it’s an issue/concern/question that I have thought about quite a lot. My background is newspapers (writer) and it’s a fact that in the UK very few female reporters return to their previous staff jobs after having children…some of those I know who did try to return soon left. The hours and unpredictability of the job isn’t really conducive to having a young family. Maybe freelancing is more sympathetic to those who want/need to juggle those kinds of responsibilities.

    As someone who is now at the age and point in life when this whole subject is becoming scarily real – but who has also recently discovered photography and hopes to go more down that path – I recognise my own feelings when you say

    “You think: Shit, I have to hurry up to make a carrier, because the day I want children everything will be difficult.”

    It certainly turns the whole process into more of a rush for some of us than it does for guys who want to develop their photography or indeed change career

  • Just dropping by, I just wanted to go back to x’s post, the asian woman about to give up (hopefully not on photography entirely).

    Of course, we can think of Kyunghee Lee, but can anyone give the name of an asian or african female photographer of note, employed in the profession in these continents? I hope some names will come up, but these are the toughest culture and societies for women to have their art sustained, employed and recognized, even with the best social backgrounds. Ditto for photographers

    Frankly, I see that some festivals there in Asia, that wish to help local photographers with free workshops. I think to even narrow it to women photographers would really be where it is worth making a difference. Maybe there are none, and x might nust tell us, yes, there are.

    Talk about male-dominated societies, the differnce with the West is not even funny.

  • David :-)
    I had unfortunately to give up the Compton project… the producer with who I started it actually is now working on holliwood movies and staff like that so dropped me, the police departement was not happy with my pictures, cause they think they don’t bring any “good image” to them, so denied me the permit to work with tham anymore; I tried to arrange it by myself but, as it require a complicate organization, is too expensive (I’m nearly brooke!) and anycase I think that this work was special for the access I had, without the access is going to be just an other story on this subject. I am now focused on the tibetan refugees project… actually is so many years I am working on it, I started it even before becoming a photographer, it is worth it to finish it!
    For the rest things quite sucks… in Italy things works differently than in the US… I recently did some portfolio review at the NY festival (emailed you but you didn’t answer!) and I was amazed by how open are the editors, even if no one sended me to them and no one knowed me, they invited me to see the offices, to met the other editors of the magazne, ecc… here such things never happen! Things are smaller, closer, and magazines do not even recive you, if you are not sended by someone that they want to please. But I don’t complaine cause this is a “general” problem, there is not discrimination, it happens to every one, also to photographers who are male, more talented and more experienced than me…
    Anycase, even if business is what it is, I am doing interesting things… my Haiti work (who all the magazines rejected or didn’t even want to see) will be published by “contrasto books” for the NGO with who I did it; it is grate cause at the end magazines are sooner or later trashed, books stay ;-)
    And also I have a lot of ideas for stories here in Italy. I may just have to find a “side job” to survive but I don’t think I will give up, I want to resist till this “crisis” will finish, make my portfolio stronger and stronger and see what will go on.
    Will love to come and visit when you are teaching @ TPW… I know you will be so busy but it will be so nice to show you something about the Tibetan project!
    If there is a day when you think I will not boder anyone (don’t know maybe the first or one in the middle of the week) just let me know and I will drop by…

    For the Maya Goded question: I don’t know her at all, I will ask you about her when I will have the chance… I always had the idea that she gave up magnum cause she couldn’t handle too much pressure. But of course, no clue… I don’t know anything about her, not even how old is she, just know her work. But IMO this is the reason why many women at a certain point decide that they don’t want to push them selfes anymore… we are not weaker in talent nor physicaly but we are just psicologicaly… that’s why we don’t rule in photography and in many other fields. But maybe at the end we are happy anycase ;-)

  • To come back to “x” post… she linked her website… actually she is very good! She doesn’t have to give up!
    In Asia is probably difficol for her, but she can always try to make some business abroad!

  • Thanks for your answer Mr.DAH. And your added touch Miss Erica McDonald.

    Hopefully I am someone who bloomed young but will flower late…

    Now let’s get back to regular programming, women!


  • hi all… just got home from a talk/discussion on the cancelation of the Robert Mapplethorpe exhibit at the Corcoran Gallery of Art, here in DC. the protest to the gallery canceling the show was 20 years ago tonight. fascinating discussion about censorship, what is pornography, etc.

  • Check out cool “woman” photographer Karen McKinnon


  • ” what is pornography, etc.”

    celebrating thanks giving…. thats pornography……
    eating beef and shooting long canon zooms……
    thats pornography…..

  • ALL…

    in a few minutes, we will implement a new comment system…you will have to register…but, only once….if you are a UFO we know like Civilian or Stoop, no problem…this way we eliminate the problem of serious negative trolls etc etc…nasty or irrelevant comments will be deleted….

    many thanks for your patience…

    cheers, david


    yes, to Martin…sorry, my mistake….

  • eating beef and shooting long canon zooms……that’s pornography

    Well, if you stop and actually give that imagery a thought, it is, isnt it?

  • marcin luczkowski


    No problem :)

    Log in system is good idea, but will will see how it will be in a battle. :)

  • oh this is so refreshing. thanks david and anton…

  • It’s a great idea to use burn to patch up some needs in funding and 2k sounds like a good little boost for a project. Hopefully enough funds keep on rolling in to match the needs… I guess that that gallery has to get going to get something from sales!

  • there are PLENTY of great Asian Women photographers…..and plenty that are well known….and plenty that are working, exhibiting, producing great and substantial work….homework Herve…..

    by the way, X’s work is strong, driven, meticulous and wonderful….I HOPE you do not give up….

    there are a lot of great great Asian women photographers, and it’s shameful to write “but can anyone give the name of an asian or african female photographer of note, employed in the profession in these continents?”….that really is revealing….

    I’ll give you 4 GREAT female, asian photographers of note who are working and producing exciting work…and i wont even mention all the women now working in China or Japan. In fact, for certain, JAPANESE CONTEMPORARY PHOTOGRAPHY which has been defined by the last 15 years by Women!!……

    1. Award Winning Yunghi Kim
    2. Award Winning Agnes Dherbeys
    3. Award Winning Xian Danwen (now a superstar in the Art World, had the fortune of being in 2 shows with her)
    4. Award Winning Asako Narahashi



    I also got ayoung chinese photographer to submit a singles picture here….the work is being done…if we dont know about them, it is OUR fault, our problem, and we should do better to educate ourselves…

  • David,

    You didn’t mention Susan Meiselas as being at the meeting. Where was she?
    Another Magnum “woman with camera.”

    She’ll be giving a talk here in Santa Fe next week…along with Fusco and Manos.
    Unfortunately I’ll be shooting in Taos so will have to miss the Magnum opening and some of their talks.

    I sent you an email earlier today. Hope you got it.

  • David,

    turns out I’ve been emailing the wrong David. Must be the heat.

    Nevermind, I made a new friend and this time I hope I got you at the right address!

    “The positive thinker sees the invisible, feels the intangible, and achieves the impossible.”

    I’ve never doubted it.

  • CATHY…

    oh my oh my…yes, of course Susan was there…the most activist of all Magnum photographers…she was just not in my line of sight when i wrote that story..Martine Franck was also there but not in the room at the time….shhhhhh, do not tell them i did not mention their names…oh yes Olivia Arthur too……i have enough problems as it is…as i said i wrote that story from the back of the room like a kid in school and i just was not seeing those other women from my line of sight…


    laughing…pleased you met a new friend……will check my email

  • Thanks, Bob.

    By the way, I recommend the ASIAN PHOTOGRAPHY BLOG at:


    It’s on top of my favorite websites, with plenty of men and women featured, almost daily. A labor of love from the website owner.

    Is that homework enough, Bob? :-))))

  • OK, Bob, about these 4 photographers, as I just looked up their work, not exactly what I meant. As:

    1)Agnes is a western woman, from France, seriously educated at La Sorbonne, euro-asian if you will.

    2)Yunghi is asian american, or in any case, working/settled in the USA.

    3) and 4), Xian and Asako are artists strictly (It would never occur to me to think there are no asian women artists of renown). A together different realm than representation in the photographic profession, either as staff P. or freelancer, which IMO, is the topic, mainly based on women and APPLYING/SUBMITTING FOR THE SAME JOB.

    Now, the search can begin… ;-)

    PS: I made a mistake by mentionning Khyunghee, as she is also an artist, but it was more for paying homage to our almost unique asian woman photographer, on BURN (that we know of). She actually outdid anyone of us, in terms of being lavishly published.

  • Hi David, I’ve tried a new email address for you … maybe I just keep ending up in your spam box!

    I’m benjamin@duckrabbit.info


  • Hola David, it’s been great to see all the changes and growth of your blog and the work being created.
    I wanted to thank you for the opportunity to share my work when I made the cut from your first EPF which led to this assignment that got published recently. I look forward to engage with the community here. I am grateful that my participation here has helped me to share my work of Chihuahua, Mexico to a whole other culture on the other side of the world. Thanks again,

    Vision China; The Largest Publication in China The circulation of Vision is 228,000
    Raechel’s photography and story profiles the Casas Grandes region in a 30 page story.Published in May 2009

  • well i’m coming to all this very late but it was really interesting to hear all your experiences.
    my situation is probably like alot of women’s whereby i came to photography late (about 5 years ago when i was in my early forties) and already had my family and obviously the children will always come first until they’re all at college…4 years to go :)
    until then i try to learn and experiment as much as i can, but it is frustrating not having the time i’d like to shoot and it can feel very selfish to spend all my time thinking about making pictures and spend all my money on film but that’s probably true for everyone with children regardless of sex. just life i guess.

  • You make your choices and you pay your price. :)

    My wife and I decided 31 years ago when we married that we couldn’t reach our career goals if we had children, so opted not to. It has made everything so much easier, and is a decision we have never regretted. But for most people, children are more important than careers, and wouldn’t be happy making the same choice we did.

  • i wouldn’t change my choice, i’m just greedy :)

  • Most of the couples I’ve known over the years who’ve tried to do what we’ve done (I’m a newspaper PJ and now editor) and have children have ended up divorced. There are just some careers where it is difficult to “have it all,” and not kill relationships in the process. :)

  • And pinch hitting for Panos tonight, let me leave you with this deeply interesting website:


  • Sorry, don’t know why that appeared both here in the the cutouts thread. Was only supposed to be there only. Weird.

  • sadly about half of couples get divorced regardless of type of career.
    i’m sure the statistics are just as bad for stay at home mums or IT professionals or working in the local library.

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