50|50 Photography AMBITION
CREATING NEW OPPORTUNITIES FOR FEMALE PHOTOGRAPHERS IN ADVERTISING.
#EqualLens #5050Photography #5050Creativity
Founder of Equal Lens: Jaki Jo Hannan
There is a quiet movement happening that’s growing louder, a movement of gender equality, ethnicity, sexuality and cultural diversity, not only in advertising but across all industries. A big part of this shift starts from restoring gender equality. There are women who are not afraid to stand up and have a voice, women whose voices are so powerful they are becoming the creators of change, they command respect and it’s time to start listening.
Gender equality is very important, and advertising is notoriously a male dominated environment. A lot of women are incredibly talented but are just not being given commercial commissions. Partly because they are not on our list, partly because clients are not giving them their first commission. And partly because they are simply not being represented by photographer’s agents.
When there are no woman right for our briefs, I want to ask, why? I want us to be able to overcome the longer-term issue so that in the future, many options exist. I truly believe that gender equality is better for business. We need to remind ourselves that ‘women make up 85% of all consumer purchases’ and deserve to see the commercial world through the lens of both women and men. Emma Reeves, the Executive Director of Free The Bid said “Talent is genderless, but opportunity is not”. It is time to address this imbalance in photography, ‘Free The Bid’ focuses on championing women directors within each bid. I want to create a pledge where every list of photographers curated will be inclusive of both women and men. I want to create an atmosphere where emerging female talent feel they have a platform that supports them. And provides them with the opportunities they may have been missing out on. In turn, we’ll launch new female leaders and inspire the next generation of female creatives. Women who are there for all other female photographers. We want to be there for them when they need empowerment, inspiration, and most of all support.
I would like agencies in London, across the UK and further afield to support and then pledge to the movement.
Alma Har'el & Emma Reeves, Free the Bid
Olivia Gideon Thomson, Founder of We Folk Photographic Agency
- Launch an Instagram showcasing female photographers. A source not just of endless inspiration, but of new opportunities for agencies.
- Turn this movement into a pledge and gain support throughout the creative industry.
- Find female photographers to be the ambassadors and to spread awareness.
- Create panels of women and men to discuss the topic and raise awareness.
- Create an exhibitions, workshops and events that champion women.
What would this pledge look like?
We ask those pledging that every photographer list curated will include a 50/50 balance of women and men. No matter if your list is 2, 4, 6, or 8 photographers consider a 50/50 balance. Build up your database using the resources we are creating and actively try to seek out new talent. It’s then your choice (no obligation) who you think best suits the brief and who you will recommend to your client. It’s important to acknowledge that many female photographers have not been given the same opportunity as more established counterpart male photographers. So, these women may not have the commissions in their portfolios to support their incredible creative skills and passion. Consider your evaluation process as a way of demonstrating outside the box thinking when commissioning work and educating your clients to try something new. These women will bring both new ways of working and innovative creative processes to the table. This new attitude paves the way for new ways of thinking from the outset. Ways that will ultimately aid the gender balance in this industry and provide positive ripples across other creative disciplines.
We ask those pledging that when you see female photographer options that don’t have the commissions in their portfolio to advocate the brief, remain open and still consider them as a viable choice. If you don’t see female options presented to you time and time again, ask for them. Diverse perspectives are ultimately good for business.
We ask those pledging to look at your own roster and work on creating a 50/50 gender balance within it. Encouraging, championing and supporting emerging female talent without representation, so that they feel they also have the opportunity for these commissions. Encourage your photographers to take on female assistants and support them as they come into the commercial industry.
Like many women I struggled with the confidence to believe I was enough, just as I am. Over the years I have had support from many incredible woman and men that have taught me to love and respect myself. Over my career, I was inspired by my step dad’s work ethics. It felt like I needed to adopt a man’s attitude and way of thinking to get ahead in my career, to ask for what I want and what I deserve.
I have always been a huge supporter of helping woman. For me, helping others also helps me grow. I like working with woman in my personal life, and supporting junior members of my team and agency to achieve their goals. When I was confronted with the point that I mainly commission men, I was ashamed. Not because men aren't right for the brief but because woman were not also equally getting these opportunities.
I spoke with my colleagues Alicia Hart and Scarlett Montanaro, both strong advocates for gender equality, which inspired me to review my own thinking. Earlier this year Sarah Jupp encouraged me to apply to the Cannes Lions See It Be It 15 Female Future Leaders scheme. I then received a place and had the opportunity to be mentored by See It Be It ambassador Madonna Badger and share my beliefs with all the amazing female delegates from around the world. Madonna encouraged me to email Alma Har'el and Emma Reeves of ‘Free the Bid’ which really inspired me to believe that creating a pledge like this was possible.
Huge thank you to Deborah McCartney and Hannah Johnson for copy checking everything and inspiring me with their words. Thank you, Shahnaz Ahmed, for helping me come up with the initiative name. Last but not least thank you to all the See It Be It 2017 woman, Cannes Lions, Madonna Badger, Francine Linsey and Mary Martin.