Photography Gallery

Sex in Photography

At the end of November I attended a Symposium: Women FIX Photography, a panel discussion and networking event as part of FIX Photo 2018 run by Laura Noble, writer and gallerist.

A rather startling statistic was put forward during Laura’s introduction that although 85% of students studying photography are women, the industry switches that figure on its head, and is made up of just 15% of females. That doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.

This year marks 100 years since women got the (partial) vote in the UK. Del Barrett, Vice President of the Royal Photographic Society has spear-headed 100 Heroines this year, compiling a list of 100 influential female photographers from across the globe who are transforming photography today. Also, last week saw the launch of the 209 women project, where the 209 Female MP’s were photographed by 209 female photographers.

This, I am sure is all vital work.

I have found it hard to compile this blog, despite knowing there is something to be said. I asked my 18 year old son (who I understand to be a feminist) to read my unfinished words, and that got us into a deep discussion about women and the easy adoption of stereotypes. I will round up what he said at the end.

Symposium: Women FIX Photography. In the room:  Visible (l-r) Victoria from Christie’s Auction room  Rhiannon Adam, Artist  Chloe Rosser, whose work Form and Function you can see on the walls  Laura Noble, Organiser  Not visible:  Del Barrett, Vice President of the RPS and founder of @100heroines  Karen Harvey, director of Shutter Hub  Renee Jacobs, Photo de Femmes, was skyped live from Florida when the floor was opened up for discussion!

Symposium: Women FIX Photography. In the room:

Visible (l-r) Victoria from Christie’s Auction room

Rhiannon Adam, Artist

Chloe Rosser, whose work Form and Function you can see on the walls

Laura Noble, Organiser

Not visible:

Del Barrett, Vice President of the RPS and founder of @100heroines

Karen Harvey, director of Shutter Hub

Renee Jacobs, Photo de Femmes, was skyped live from Florida when the floor was opened up for discussion!

I am a woman, and I was once a girl. I’ve been working in the photographic industry for all of my adult life, working as an assistant for many years in the advertising & editorial sectors, and building up to a freelance practitioner. Within that time I have become a mother, and along with his Dad, raised a child.

Everyone I worked for regularly as a Photographer’s assistant was a man. For years, I barely saw women working in photographic labs and all the couriers I can picture were men - for those who are too young to remember, London was once awash with couriers on bicycles transporting rolls of film, in various states across the city; to studios, labs, and clients in offices. They would gather at a roadside cafe, much like the way Deliveroo workers do now. I don’t recall ever seeing a female courier.

Another factor in any debate about the history of photography and who works/worked in it, is one of privilege. Without a doubt, when I was starting out, those with money or creative parents were at an advantage. Nowadays there are millions of photos taken every minute on smartphones, but the industry still relies heavily on expensive equipment and/or processing techniques to produce most of the work that is accepted by publications and galleries.

Apart from one panel member, I did not know any of the women very well. The photographic industry is huge, and depending on what you photograph and for whom, you’ll only know a certain number of people. I feel that the industry has become a friendlier place overall since the onset of digital, because it has become far more democratic, and you hear the word collaboration a lot more than was ever the case; when people clung onto clients and were very secretive about commissions.

The day before attending FIX Photo festival I had been to a talk given by award winning photographer, and thoroughly nice chap Tom Hunter at The Cass, London Metropolitan University. Tom talked about his illustrious career, which is still going strong.

As I sat in awe, listening to him regale his entry into photographic notoriety, it didn’t really cross my mind that Tom’s approach would most likely have been easier as a young, testosterone fuelled man. He was not scared to confront authority, or push his way into a situation to get the results he wanted.

Of course we could turn to the work of Nan Goldin to see a woman taking pictures in places that many people wouldn’t dare to tread. There have been, and always will be, exceptions to the case, but maybe we shouldn’t pluck these individuals out, as if to say ‘see, what are you worried about? etc. etc.’ It seems that sometimes the stereotypical character traits we align with either sex are so ingrained they do not get noticed. Maybe this is the point: we do need to talk, to sound this stuff out, so we can understand how we are where we are?

You can see why I had so much trouble articulating anything here. Once you start to debate a problem, it spreads into many tributaries, and everyone has their own experience of being a woman, or man: basing their findings on their own experience and knowledge base.

Tom Hunter talking about his degree project ‘The Ghetto’ when he made a complete model of the street he lived on as a squatting tenant.  The Ghetto  title was inspired by an article printed in the Hackney Gazette, giving a scathing report on the alternative community Tom knew and loved. His photographs and model formed part of a campaign to save the community from developers and Hackney Council. It was saved, and Tom still lives in the neighbourhood today.

Tom Hunter talking about his degree project ‘The Ghetto’ when he made a complete model of the street he lived on as a squatting tenant. The Ghetto title was inspired by an article printed in the Hackney Gazette, giving a scathing report on the alternative community Tom knew and loved. His photographs and model formed part of a campaign to save the community from developers and Hackney Council. It was saved, and Tom still lives in the neighbourhood today.

At FIX, the fifty-strong audience consisted of two men. When the conversation turned to that of motherhood, one of the men, I believe Norwegian, said we would never be having this conversation in Norway because maternity/paternity rights are much more even. The mention of motherhood was like a touch-light in the room, with several women sharing their experiences.

For me, I do believe that the single most-effecting element of why I might feel in any way disadvantaged as a woman in the photographic industry is through becoming a mother. This, I know is a feeling shared by women doing all kinds of jobs, but as a creative freelance professional, there are many obstacles, both physical (meaning logistics rather than carrying equipment) and mental to deal with.

Talking of mothers, this is what my son pretty much said The thing about some of these movements (#metoo was mentioned) is that they breed polarisation. He is certainly affronted by the idea that men are often presumed to be ‘the enemy’, and I fully get his position.

These are shared issues, and ones to discuss together. Even in these times of shifting identities men will still be our fathers, our lovers and our sons.

There is more to being a woman, than being a woman. Amanda Eatwell

FIX 2018

FIX 2018

PS. Within the time I wrote this, I read an interview between Jane Graham (Big Issue) and Stella Rimington, Ex MI5 Chief. Asked which day of her life she would relive if possible she said the day she met members of the KGB. She was the only woman at the table, and during the concluding speech one of them said ‘“In your country you have a woman Prime Minister, you have a lady Queen, and now we have a woman leading your intelligence service”. She said “there was a sense of ‘you must be mad’.”

But still, she was there, and women should always be there, here, everywhere.














Putting on a show: Shutter Hub Open

On the wall at Shutter Hub Open 2018

On the wall at Shutter Hub Open 2018

This year has been a roller-coaster for me, and by that I mean exhilarating.

I have visited four countries, fought and won my first boxing match, and moved home. I have not however written many blog posts, and I had the hunch that I haven’t taken many pictures in 2018, but I seem to be wrong.

When you are a photographer who participates in many other pursuits, both work-wise, and in their private lives, as well as having a young adult to keep track of, it can seem that there is no time for your first love and passion. I wonder if photography is such an integral part of my life, that I often don’t realise that somehow, it is always there?

I have produced a few small series of work this year, and got some cracking shots in Morocco that I plan to make available for purchase - an online store may be in sight!

The most recent show I had work selected for is the Shutter Hub Open. If you’re reading this as it’s published, you could see it for yourself as it ends tomorrow at 6pm.

It seems the organisers have even surprised themselves with the overwhelmingly positive reaction to the show - it really is their best yet!

Teaming up with Newspaper Club all of the images were printed onto newsprint paper. I was a little concerned with how the pictures might reproduce, but they looked fantastic!

The private view was held last Thursday, the same night Photo Month began across the east of the city, and formed part of Photomonth’s time-tabled events schedule.

Shutter Hub is a photography organisation offering opportunities, support, and net-working for their members. At their helm is a woman who does all she can to promote the work of the Shutter Hub community. I was really touched, as I was about to leave the Private View, when Karen Harvey thanked me for always getting involved, being encouraging and spreading the word. I told her it cuts both ways.

Pictures pop off the walls.

Pictures pop off the walls.

Having worked in photography for over two decades, I have seen it change from an industry of individuals, keeping their ideas and clients close to their chests, to an open forum for discussion and ideas sharing. Obviously that has a lot to do with the digital explosion, and a need to change, but it has opened up the floor to people like Karen who work tirelessly to keep us photographers on show.

Funny enough, I spoke to a photographer that I assisted for years in the editorial sector yesterday: he was always driven by money, and we used to have heated debates about politics. He asked me if I make any money from all these exhibitions I do, in the same way my Dad, or my ex-partner would. Ironically they are all Capricorns, but I digress! Do I make money? I don’t know, probably not, but you never know, in a round-about way.

I thought we were living in the times of ‘do what you love’? Well, I worked that out for myself at a young age, and despite the peaks and troughs over the years I know I made the right choice.

Long live Photography!

Two images from my Face Pack project were chosen for display: Super Fruits, and Flowers in her hair.

Two images from my Face Pack project were chosen for display: Super Fruits, and Flowers in her hair.

Simplicity in Execution: Paper and Tape.

Simplicity in Execution: Paper and Tape.

The show is being held at:

11 Dray Walk, Old Truman Brewery, London E1

Just off of Brick Lane

Open 11 - 6pm today and tomorrow, Tuesday 9th October









WANTED: Creative Headspace for Photographer

This blogpost was going to be called 'Keeping Inspired as a Photographer', then I realised, I have no problem keeping inspired, but I have a huge problem finding time to execute my ideas, and even worse, to really get 'involved' with them; to take them to the next level.

Life is a busy place; if you live in a city, even more so. Being a London Photographer means I am constantly given inspiration via all of my senses, whether that's from walking the streets, talking to the myriad people one meets or by participating in any number of cultural delights, be it eating great food, watching a live band or visiting an art gallery. 

Discovered Fenton House and Garden, a little gem hidden on the backstreets of Hampstead recently.

Discovered Fenton House and Garden, a little gem hidden on the backstreets of Hampstead recently.

Some years ago I had a conversation with a Psychotherapist I met at a business-networking event and she helped me write out a weekly timetable that factored in time to do 'fun' things like visiting galleries or taking some exercise. As far as I'm concerned, this stuff is essential to keeping an open-mind and triggering creative ideas. It may seem luxurious to visit a gallery on a Tuesday afternoon, but really it's a research and reconnaissance mission!

I still have access to that weekly timetable, which I print off when I want to focus on a few key targets in a given week. Beneath the tabled agenda are these words from Nicole, the Psychotherapist:

"Keep this flexible! Always keep in mind long-term goals, but work clearly and patiently.

Let the pressures and the 'shoulds' go. Do one thing at a time. Go slow - stops crashes!"

Since I've been attempting to live in a less-agitated state (must do, got to do, rush, rush, rush) I have found way more equilibrium and allowance for myself not to achieve everything I intended to do in a day. There really is a limit, in time, energy and efficiency when it comes to living an agreeable life in the twenty-first century.

I had a particularly wild summer this year in terms of external events and inward emotions. It was great, but I recognised the wisdom needed to kick in, and that something had to give. I don't want that something to be my sanity, so I eased my foot off the pedal and have been attempting to filter in more downtime. Of course there's still been lots of fun, and plenty of late nights, but that's been my bag for years, so I'm cool with that!

My favourite inspirational quote right now is Do Less Better. I remind myself of this quote regularly, as for me, it sings. I cannot accept every invitation, I cannot do all the things I would like if there were two of me, so I have to choose wisely what I agree to doing both inside and outside of my work. 

As we are in an age of the pursuit of self-discovery, another practice I have been honing is to hang around with people that inspire me. So instead of getting annoyed that your parents don't 'get' what you do (guilty) spend as much time with the people who do. I'd be nowhere without my peers and friends that allow me to do what I do without judging me...

People that understand why you're staying up until 2am because you have something you just need to complete, like this blog for example! Traversing London from one side to the other because you have to secure an item to execute an idea that's in your head. A little masochism goes a long way in the life of an artist, entrepreneur or madman!

As I only managed two days official holiday this year thanks to bad planning, I scheduled five 'me days' into my diary last week. That somehow turned into two very long days of catching up with admin and prop-shopping for a new personal project (talking of inspiration!) before spending two and a half days shooting said project!

What I had planned though was a day-trip to what has become a preferred bolthole of mine: Leigh-on-sea in Essex. It had got to around 11am and I needed to be back in London by 5pm to get home and ready for a Private View at the Printspace. I almost talked myself out of making the trip, but I am so glad I stuck to the plan!

Arriving at Chalkwell

Arriving at Chalkwell

I now had about three hours to explore, which involved some picture- taking along the beach, stopping for a salmon bagel, buying some sweets for use in my upcoming project - kinda knew that every seaside town has a Sweet Shop, and my piece de resistance - visiting the little gem of the Francesca Maffeo Gallery

On show was Alexander Missen's Q & A, a fascinating collection of images following Missen's journey across America, 'providing an examination of cultural symbolism and how the motifs we associate with America have affected the reality of place and people.'

Runs until 28th October.

Alexander Missen's Q & A at Francesca Maffeo Gallery, Chalkwell, ends 28th October.

Alexander Missen's Q & A at Francesca Maffeo Gallery, Chalkwell, ends 28th October.

There was an added bonus for me at the gallery, as in conversation, Francesca told me that the good folk of London Independent Photography had paid a visit, and there on the counter was one of my pictures representing the group on a recent promotional flyer!

Ed, representing!

Ed, representing!

In Twenty-Eighteen I intend to get stuck into my next long-term project. That's a year behind schedule, but you can only do what you can do! I will spend some time over Christmas researching further and hope that I can be fully involved with no cutting corners, and pushing myself to new limits!

I am hardly the person to demonstrate high levels of efficiency with my powers of distraction , but I am aware of the things I can do to stay on track and keep reminding myself of where I am heading (there is no final destination by the way!)

Happy Headspace!

Amanda