f22 – Women Photographers at the AOP - #thefstartshere
The f22 group was first formed in the 1980’s and was resurrected in April 2019 due to demand and recognition that the inequality present in the photographic industry was not being addressed as it should.
Through regular meet-ups and workshops, f22 aims to provide a dedicated platform offering the best business practice support as well as growing the visibility of women commercial photographers at all levels.
We aim to explore ways in which to help women fulfill their ambitions of becoming professional photographers, as part of an on-going need for further gender equality across society.
We aim to lobby for change to address the current imbalance of the number of female commercial photographers. It is telling that currently 18% of AOP Accredited Photographer members are female, compared to 75% of AOP Student members.
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Our members say...
"When I moved into commissioning advertising, I was struck by the lack of females making the transition into the commercial world. It seemed that everyone was okay with the fact that lists were going to clients of only male photographers. This was not happening in the editorial world - we had pretty equal amounts of male and female photographers being commissioned. In the UK, 67% household consumption is controlled or influenced by women so why are we not seeing it through a woman’s photographic lens?" Alicia Hart
© Sarah Hogan
"The f22 Group being resurrected is so important to me because I feel that we need a larger presence within the industry - To encourage young female students and assistants interested in a photographic career and to say we are here to support you and encourage you…
You can do it because we are! It can be a very isolating industry so knowing that there is a potential support network who can advise on all aspects of navigating a successful freelance career as a female with all that might entail.
What we want to achieve:
To decrease the gap between women and men! The statistics on the numbers of female students compared to practicing professional photographers is not good enough.
To push the female gaze and celebrate it. To encourage, support and educate. The f starts here!" Sarah Hogan
© Wendy Carrig
"As a young photographer I questioned the very existence of f22.
I believed that photography should be judged on it’s own merit and not according to the gender of the creator. Back then I also believed I was helping to pave the way for women photographers and I assumed our numbers would naturally grow.
As a student photographer our class was at least 75% male – amazingly these statistics have now been reversed, however the numbers of women photographers working in our industry has hardly changed at all.
One of the aims of the new f22 group is to challenge the gender inequality within the photographic industry."
© Carol Sharp
"When I had my first assisting job back in the 1980s I was the only woman in a studio of 5 men. When I took my folio out it was often assumed I was an agent as there were so few still life women photographers. I really thought it was a numbers thing and as there are so many women on the photography courses by now things would have changed. It seems not.
There is a statistic that shows men will apply for new jobs if they believe they have 40% of the skills listed on the job description. For women, it takes a self-belief of 90% of the skills to apply.
When further questioned women didn’t see the hiring process as one where relationships or a creative approach to framing one’s expertise could overcome not having the skills and experiences outlined in the job qualifications.
Also men believe that they can learn what they don’t know and they’ll be fine. And why not? Much of photography is simply problem solving.
Otherwise it’s a catch 22, if you don’t have confidence you cant can’t get the experience which will give you confidence. So f22 is an apt name for a group of females caught in this loop!
I hope in this group we can help each other to be more confident. I believe being part of a supportive group will greatly encourage this." Carol Sharp