INTERVIEW: Tanja Adams, Founding Partner at We Are Another
5 February 2020
We chat to Tanja Adams, Founding Partner at We Are Another about why Awards are so important to photographers, agencies and commissioners. Having been a guest at many of the Awards parties over the years, Tanja reveals what makes the AOP Awards the one stop shop for discovering the best in new and established talent.
© Megan Winstone
AOP: Why are the Awards so important to both photographers, agencies & commissioners
TANJA: I think for me personally it is one of the most central points to see photographers, not just established but also young emerging talent which I think is really important that there is one showcase doing all of that. To be able to view the photography from established, middle, up and coming and assistants is important for commissioners as often we are asked to find talent from photographers with varying experience.
AOP: Do you think this is then something unique to the AOP Awards? That we support and showcase photographers at different stages of their careers?
TANJA: Absolutely, the AOP is very established and it has a brand and recognition, people are very aware of it and that’s down to the AOP putting in the effort over the years, having been in the art buying world for 17 years now the Awards are always something we have been aware of because you get a good selection of photographers work, which agencies work with etc
AOP:Post the event do you refer to the Awards Books?
TANJA: Yes we do we have them in the office as well as at home on our coffee tables, it is something we love to look at and of course refer to.
AOP: Can you talk about why you recently joined the Awards Working Group.
I was very flattered to be approached to join, I thought it would be a good opportunity as we always have an opinion on the Awards, I think everybody does, we always sit in the office the day after and discuss it so I felt it would be a good opportunity to put into practice what we discuss so its putting our money where our mouth is really. I’m really looking forward to it and am glad for the opportunity.
AOP: Last year we recommenced our f22-Women Photographers at the AOP group. As an agency how do you support women in the creative industry? Why you think its important and that its not just a trend.
It is very important and we are very passionate about this. We have launched a mentorship scheme, the first one is on the way with two sponsors on board being Simply Be and Deliveroo, the idea is to get three sponsors and have three female Post Graduate or MA students who will get three months with an Award winning or renowned photographer to work with, so the photographer gets an assistant for free and the brand pays the assistant directly. The reason for getting involved is that we noticed a huge discrepancy between the number of females on courses and the number of females who make a career out of being a photographer. When the stats are showing 60/40 females studying photography, which then drops to 25% on leaving college, we thought how can we try to make a difference to the equality of photographers. We have done a lot of research and spoken with many universities, our social media director is picking up the mentoring scheme for us who had a long conversation with a course director who as saying it is really down to confidence and that women don’t have the confidence to get up and do it like men do. We hope that by running this scheme it will encourage them and give them the confidence so that they can have a career out of it.
AOP: The f22 group network provides additional support for women photographers and runs workshops on building confidence and we have just had a workshop about entering Awards.
Tanja: It's great you have the f22 group and if everyone did a little bit, as an entirety its going to be fantastic for women. It’s not a job men can do better there is no reason for the inequality we just want everything to be more equal. We know so many female photographers who have children and maintain their career, it is definitely possible, it’s a great career to have.
AOP: Why is it important for Women to enter Awards?
TANJA: Its exposure and also confidence breads confidence. Hopefully more women will see more women entering Awards and winning Awards which will encourage women to enter and build their confidence, get involved, take a chance and they’ll be surprised, they are probably better than they think, which is often the case.
AOP: There are so many Awards to enter these days, what is it to you that makes the AOP Awards stand out against the others?
TANJA: I think it’s definitely got brand recognition as I have said before, which is fantastic, everyone who commissions knows the AOP and it’s the only Awards that has the categories where you can have established alongside emerging, assistants and students. The book is a great reference for agencies and commissioners. It’s renowned and has a direct unique link with commissioners that I am sure other Awards do not have. I am sure that many photographers get work from it so its definitely a great thing I don’t know if other Awards can say that.
AOP: Where do you look for new talent?
TANJA: Definitely Awards! Private view & Universities. We are working with a lot of Uni’s at the moment and are seeing a lot of new students and up and coming talent here as we are providing portfolio advice. We also look at other agents like Lisa Pritchard Agency futures which we have been judges for in the past, to places like Le Book, Photo London where you are getting a bit more international exposure of photographers. I also hope at Le Book that its not just local companies because it’s so nice to see who is in Germany and LA.
Find more information about the Awards here