Why are there so few women (nature) photographers?

Walking around the Captiola Art and Wine Festival where I was exhibiting my own photography I noticed something: there are a lot of photographers these days. There were probably 10-15 landscape photographers exhibiting there as well. And at the close of the show on Saturday I realized something else: not a single one of them was a woman (at least that I saw). And reflecting upon my experiences with photo-sharing sites like flickr and 500px I noticed the same pattern: an overwhelming majority of landscape and nature photographers are guys. Of course there are women nature photographers out there, and some extremely talented and successful ones at that, but they are still a tiny minority.

The question I have is why? The way I see it, you have to have three things in order to want to become a landscape and nature photographer: 1) Access to the technology. 2) A desire to make art. And 3) A love of the outdoors. Yet none of these seems to be a valid reason for the small number of women photographers. After all, the explosion of digital technology has made photography accessible to everyone, and we are seeing DSLRs everywhere these days. And I know first hand how many women are involved in art; stroll the aisles at any art show and you will see women painters, women sculptors, women jewelers, and women printmakers. As far as the outdoorsy thing, I think I know just as many girls as guys who like to camp, hike, travel, and adventure. So why hasn’t the digital revolution produced more women landscape photographers?

I don’t have any answers to this question. It’s just something I’ve been pondering and I’d love to hear from the ladies out there: why aren’t more of you involved in nature photography? Let’s get a discussion going. Use the comment section to chime in.

Cheers!

Josh

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  1. Tracy
    Tracy says:

    I am coming to this discussion quite late but wanted to share my observations. First, although I have learned to enjoy being by myself and shooting alone in nature, it is not my first choice. I like having someone (preferably my husband) with whom to share beautiful moments. After 30 years of marriage and a quarter century of parenting, landscape photography has helped me to branch out personally in a whole new direction and I love it. I go on hikes and visit destinations I would never have had an interest in before I put a camera in my hand. Being raised in American suburbia, I spent a lot of time outside as a child but rarely out in remote areas. That said, even though I enjoy the outdoors, it definitely takes me out of my comfort zone. That in itself is a good thing, but it requires not only effort but it takes its toll in mental stress for me. Having spent years with an anxiety disorder the idea that I can do this at all is pretty amazing. As far as women landscape photographers being everywhere, I have not found them so easy to find. I live on the northern coast of California and there are photography and art galleries on almost every street corner. And although there are many painters and sculptors represented with women, there are NO female landscape photographers. This search just started so I could find someone I could go shooting with. Due to the human element, real or imagined, there are places I do not go alone at sunset. Also because beach photography can be a little tricky depending on the tides, there are locations I don’t go to alone partly because I get too caught up in capturing the moment and neglect to pay enough attention to my surroundings. Thank you for even having this discussion. I appreciated reading everyone’s comments and I am glad to know others are working through the same issues.

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