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That's a big lens

Updated: Sep 18, 2021

I'm about to embark on a week-long photography retreat, fair to say, I'm a bit excited. Hanging out with fellow photographers, talking, planning, shooting. Awesome stuff. However, the preparation for the week has made me reflect on why I value being with other photographers so much.

The answer is a bit simple - there's safety in numbers. Invariably, when I am out (by myself) taking photos some helpful soul will feel the need to say things like "oh, you are taking photos" or "that's a big lens, must be heavy" or other useful and inane things. Now, I don't mind talking to strangers, telling them what I am doing, even giving them a look in the back of the camera but, truth be told, I don't always feel safe doing so. I would love to do more street photography but, as a woman photographer, I don't think it's necessarily safe.

As a bit of a side-note, I never take photographs of anyone without their permission (unless it's at a concert or rugby match when you can't identify individuals), it's a personal rule.

The same goes for capturing morning light, sunsets in remote locations, or even night skies - you often have to forego location over safety.

While true for all things we do in life - photography is not a level playing field. Factors such as budget (camera gear and travel are expensive), available time (alongside the time to actually take the photograph there is also a bit of processing required), marketing ability (for those wishing to sell images), and, of course geographical location and personal safety. I am sure that the safety issue isn't limited to female photographers but my suspicion is that it is a burden that is unequally felt by them.

What limits your ability to produce the work that you want to?


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