Heading Behind the Scenes – Professional Photo

March 8 is International Women’s Day, and to mark the occasion and to shout out about the increasing numbers of females making the move into the professional arena while also celebrating its 30th anniversary, the AOP’s f/22 group is mounting a rather special online exhibition that takes the viewer behind the scenes.

 Words: Terry Hope

WHILE IT’S GREAT to view a polished final image produced to the highest of professional standards, it’s also really interesting and somewhat rare to have the opportunity to lift the veil a fraction once in a while to get a feel for what went on behind the scenes in order for this perfect creation to come together.

And that’s the guiding premise behind the latest exhibition put together by the AOP’s flourishing f22 group, and it’s a twist that’s certain to arouse a huge amount of interest, not just from the general public but from fellow professionals as well. However compelling the subject matter might be, however, when you dig a little deeper there’s way more to this particular show than a simple theme to explore.

For a start it’s a chance to step back for a moment to celebrate the achievement of this particular group of photographers, founded 30 years ago to champion the work of women and non-binary photographers who are still a minority group within professional photography. The timing of the show is also worthy of note, since it goes live on March 8, which is designated around the world as International Women’s Day.

Changing Times

While it might currently be true that women still make up a minority of the numbers of professional photographers, that particular statistic is steadily changing, thanks in no small measure to the efforts of those such as the members of the AOP f22 group.

Back in 2018 a survey taken by Kering, a French-based multinational corporation, showed that while over 80% of photography students were female, women accounted for only 15% of professional photographers. More recent figures from the same source, however, published in the FastForward Manifesto Report 2022, show that while the number of female photography course students has dropped, on average, to 60%, female photographers now account for 35% of the profession. In addition, women made up 41% of the winners in last year’s AOP awards, while they also dominated Professional Photo’s recent Top 50 UK Wedding Photographers List.

“With the arrival of International Women’s Day 2024, it’s an important occasion to reflect on, and to acknowledge, the women of influence in our industry,” comments AOP CEO, Isabelle Doran. “Those around us who inspire, encourage and support aspiring and established female professional photographers to be their extraordinary selves, and show the world what they can achieve through the eye of the lens. Highlighting female photographers behind the scenes, as the AOPf22 group demonstrates, provides both a critical reflection and incentive to those wanting to establish their chosen careers.”

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