Landscape photography can sometimes seem to be a bit of a boys’ club. From time to time, comments appear about the apparent paucity of female landscape photographers. Practical reasons have been suggested, including the size and weight of early equipment, historically unsuitable attire, and concerns over personal safety.
There is even some academic discussion which has suggested that women have traditionally had only a “conditional presence” within the landscape, being restricted to work in and around the home, and discouraged from travelling far, at least without the protection of male family members.
So where are the women? Pregnant and barefoot in the kitchen? After all, it is only within the last decade that photo magazine covers have stopped being dominated by images of women - though the magazines are still very much stuck in the men’s interests section in most newsagents. Are they too feeble to carry the gear or drag themselves out of bed at an unsociable hour and tell their partners to get their own breakfast?
Discouraged by the ever increasing explosion of equipment and the potential “techno geek” factor? Do their eyes and brains perceive things differently? Does the 24-hour media circus focus so much on bad news that they feel it may not be safe out there? While setting out alone to explore a remote area can seem contrary to what we may have been warned against from an early age (and one wonders how the withdrawal of children from playing outdoors or even travelling independently to school may affect younger generations), those of us that do would probably argue that we feel safer here than in towns and cities, and an early start can often bring an exclusivity that shooting sunsets may not offer.
There may be many reasons, and the juggling act of 21st century work-life balance that both sexes have to deal with does not help. But perhaps two others may be more significant: the fact that many women often put their hobbies and interests on hold to fulfil other commitments first; and the fact that many men are much better at self-promotion. ...
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