Today is International Women’s Day, a day to celebrate the achievements of women all over the world and raise awareness against bias and inequalities. The theme this year is Balance for Better, aiming to create a more gender-balanced world.
Certain areas of the professional photography industry are male-dominated, but today we’re focusing on the women who work in this sector or have made a name for themselves in the world of photography. We’ll also be looking at how this industry has changed over the last few years.
Natalie Martin – Story of Love
Award-winning wedding photographer Natalie Martin is extremely passionate about her work. She captures those precious emotional moments from weddings and is proud to play an important role in her clients’ big day:
“I love weddings and having the honour to be chosen to capture one of the most important days in the couple’s lives. Plus being able to document this through a beautiful album to relive the day over and over again, and be passed down generations is pretty special!”
Having grown up with photographers for parents and working in the industry for many years, Natalie has noticed a change:
“I feel more and more women are becoming wedding photographers and I love that it is now a much more equal industry.”
A working mother herself, Natalie believes there are more opportunities for mums to get back to working if that’s what they want to do. Natalie had her little boy Magnus and five weeks later was back to shooting weddings, sometimes taking him with her:
“Days have changed and women can sometimes be back to work much quicker, especially when it is wedding photography, you have your own business and you have clients booked into the diary. This was me and I loved how I was still able to give 100% to my 2018 clients, even with a totty baby being brought out to the weddings for feeds, you just make it work!”
International Women’s Day is all about raising awareness and creating a gender-balanced workplace. In Natalie’s experience, the professional photography industry has made a lot of advances to become more gender-balanced:
“I think International Women’s Day is great to keep vocal about gender equality, although I do feel in the wedding photography industry from my own personal experience, women are doing just as grand a job as the men and it is fairly judged and awarded in the associations.”
Margaret Soraya – Landscape photographer
Margaret Soraya has been a wedding and landscape photographer in the Scottish highlands for over 14 years. Working solo on most of her landscape projects, Margaret knows her line of work is typically male-dominated:
“Landscape photography seems to be dominated by men, although there are a number of women who are landscape photographers but are lesser-known.”
She believes International Women’s Day is the perfect chance to open up the discussion on equal rights for men and women. Margaret regularly hosts seminars and talks on her photography, but acknowledges this is rare among female photographers:
“In terms of landscape photography, there are only a very few at a professional level and even less are willing to stand up and speak at conferences and have the confidence or belief in their work to step forwards. Most women work in a very dedicated and thorough manner, but often seem less inclined to shout about their abilities.”
Describing herself as an ‘introvert’, she feels contented in her work, but loves the challenge of speaking publicly and teaching others. Her advice for aspiring female landscape photographers is to be brave and make that leap into doing what you love:
“You have your own unique gift, your own unique way you look at the world… There are people less qualified and less experienced than you doing the things you want to do, simply because they decided to believe in themselves and step forwards.”
Women of Loxley Colour
The men and women of Loxley Colour all play a crucial part in our success. We chatted to a few women who work in the production of our high quality products to see what they think about International Women’s Day and how it feels working in typically male-dominated roles.
Working in the Albums department, Margaret (Mags) has been with Loxley Colour for almost 14 years. Helping produce our stunning award-winning Bellissimo albums, she’s a key part of the business. Before she was with Loxley Colour, she spent over 30 years in catering, an industry where she experienced a lot of sexism:
“A lot of chefs didn’t like taking orders from a second chef who was a woman. I think they undervalue women and I don’t think that should be the case. They think a woman can’t handle it, but when I got the chance they couldn’t believe the job I did. We are capable of doing a man’s job.”
After working in such a male-dominated industry, Mags now works in the lab in what would be considered another typically male environment, but she doesn’t see it that way:
“It’s a good environment in here and a good team. Being as strong as when I worked in catering and coming with that experience helped. There’s a good team effort in here and that’s half your battle.”
Working in dispatch, Gillian is constantly busy packaging and preparing products for shipment. Her fast-paced role in Loxley Colour is crucial to the smooth workflow and her skills in this job are invaluable. Unsure about what International Women’s Day was, Gillian is glad to see women’s issues are being discussed as she doesn’t see men and women as equal yet:
“I think a lot of times men are listened to more and tend to be paid more in a lot of jobs.”
Gillian doesn’t see her work as male-dominated, describing herself as ‘one of the boys’, but she likes the pace of her role and those who she works with:
“I like the people here; I’ve made a lot of friends and I like what I do here at dispatch.”
Louise has been with Loxley Colour for 13 years, starting out in dispatch and working her way up to a manager of the Albums department. Many people tend to imagine a managerial position in manufacturing as a man’s role, but Louise believes more women are entering this industry in higher levels:
“I do feel equal now. Maybe not a few years ago, but I’ve been here 13 years and progressed up the ladder on my own merit. Because I had previous management experience, I was never nervous going for this role – I knew I could do it.”
She believes International Women’s Day is a perfect opportunity to have an open discussion about some of the key inequalities women still face:
“It’s good we’re getting to say our piece and have our voices heard. All jobs should be paid the same whether you’re a man or a woman. If you’re working the same job, pay should be equal and pensions should be equal.
Show your support
Supporting equal rights for women doesn’t just start and end today, you can show your support for building a gender-balanced world all year round. Discover what International Women’s Day is doing to raise awareness this year and find out how you can help.