Friday, June 20, 2008

A Page of Their Own for women photographer's

Photo Magazine recently featured a A new online forum provides a space for women photographers.
The article was By Miki Johnson

Here is a snip of the article which is based on woman photographer's.

A new online gallery launches today, and it's name says it all: Women In Photography. Organized and curated by photographers Amy Elkins and Cara Phillips, the site will highlight a different female photographer every two weeks. Here Elkins and Phillips explain the project's synthesis and their goals for the project, each in her own words.

American Photo: Please tell our readers a bit about Women In Photography. How did the idea arise and what are your goals for the project?

Amy Elkins: Women In Photography (WIPNYC) is a bi-monthly online venue for showcasing female photographers from around the globe. It is co-curated by Cara Phillips and myself and is open to submissions on a rolling basis. Our goal is to bring attention to the abundance of talented women working in the photographic medium in a way that makes it accessible to everyone.

I believe there were a few things that slowly started stirring the pot, leading to WIPNYC being born. Humble Arts Foundation put together a show of emerging female photographers during the month of March, purposefully up during Women's History Month. The exhibition, 31 Under 31, featured 31 female fine are photographers under the age of 31. A panel discussion featuring women in art photography, occurred as part of 31 Under 31 that brought a lot of interesting statistics to the table. Shortly after an article titled "Gallerinas" was run in the New York Times Style section, discussing the various roles women have in the gallery scene. It seemed to over-emphasize beauty over talent, style over substance and it painted the gallery world to be quite shallow and seemingly sexist. With the sudden shift in gaze towards women in photography quite a few female photographers were interested in having their voices heard. There were blog articles posted in reaction to the New York Times article, emails sent out and banners created (such as the one Liz Kuball created "Women Photographers Helping Women Photographers").

WIPNYC came at first as a spontaneous reaction to an email Cara Phillips, my partner and co-curator on, had sent regarding the article that ran in the New York Times. Rather than a cry for help or a stifled whimper about the art world not being fair towards women, I thought of doing something proactive, creating a venue that allows the strength in the work to shine through. The evolution that followed came naturally. Cara and I set up our initial site with info about the open call as well as an account to receive emailed submissions. Humble Arts Foundation and Made By Brown stepped in to offer sponsorship, supporting our ideas and building us a unique website to showcase the work. Cara and I have been working together for a few months and have been building a wonderful lineup, with our first featured solo show going to Elinor Carucci.

Our goals are wide open at the moment. We are focusing at the present on making sure that the solo shows are hand picked and of high caliber, mixing both emerging and established photographers into our selections. Eventually we want to reach out to strong female editors and gallery owners or directors to do guest edits. If this leads to bigger things in the future, such as physical exhibitions or publications, we will be glad to step up those challenges.

Cara Phillips: Women in Photography came about after I was a speaker on the Humble Arts "Women in Fine-Art Photography" panel at the 3rd Ward in Brooklyn. The panel was part of the "31 Women Under 31" exhibit. As the panelists were talking it seemed that most of us had more male mentors and peers. We all thought it would be great to try and create a network of female artists. Sometime after, I wrote a post on my blog Ground Glass discussing an article in the New York Times on gallerinas. It generated a lot of conversation and I sent a call to action email to several women asking what we could do to make positive changes rather than just complain. Amy, who I had never met before, suggested we start a blog forum for women. And shortly after WIPNYC was born. Humble Arts Foundation offered to sponsor us and Amani Olu (co-founder of Humble) designed a fantastic site for us. Everything so far has been collaboration, with both of us working together to create WIPNYC. Amani from Humble has been a great help.

I would say our goals are very simple, to create a space for women at all stages of their careers to show their work. To be a resource for both curators and editors and to help women artists develop more community. This is a really exciting time. Artists are able to show their work to much larger audiences online. The more interest and excitement we can create, hopefully the more people will consider collecting contemporary female photographers.

AP: Why is it important to you to showcase the work of women photographers?

AE: Because it seems there are plenty of ways to sit back and not be content with the current state of the art world. It has long been male dominated. Do I think that every female photographer deals with injustices or unfair standards or feels they need the label themselves as a "female photographer" rather than just a photographer? I'm not sure they all do. There are plenty of strong female photographers who seem unhindered by most any challenge. They have unique methods, face challenging subject matter, and have strong visual voices. There are more female art photographers working now than ever. As a positive reaction to an art world that is competitive, challenging, cut throat and at times impossible to step into, we have created a unique curated venue to share bodies of work for those who you may not have heard of otherwise as well as to celebrate the work of successful, established photographers.

CP: Well, female photographers are still featured less in museum shows, and their prices continue to be less on average than male artists of similar stature, the exceptions being Diane Arbus and Cindy Sherman. But for me, it is about artists taking charge of their careers. Getting a show in a New York gallery is pretty difficult. Of course we all want a book deal and a solo show in Chelsea, but these things take time and are not the only option. Personally, I get a great deal of satisfaction out of the emails I get from people who have read my blog and relate to something I have said. If I can help a female artist's career or give her her first solo show on WIPNYC, I feel that I am doing something for all of us because both Amy and I are, of course, women in photography.

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