Now in its fifth year, Paris-based Photo Boite has featured 30 women photographers each year who are making work today that deserves worldwide attention. LensCulture is honored to be a supporter of Photo Boite in 2014, and we are pleased to present a sampling from each of the photographers chosen to be highlighted this year.
What is it like, then, to be a female photographer, to be a woman who has seized hold of an instrument of which she traditionally remains in front, and to use her eye to view the world, rather than use it to throw back a soft, muted glance into the receiving end of a male gaze?
It may sound primitive to talk of the female photographer in such a way, but as the photographers of Photo Boite’s 30 UNDER 30 women will undoubtedly profess, resistance — or discrimination, even subtle — can be common even today. We will each have our own stories of how being a woman has hindered, or even unfairly aided, our pursuit of this profession.
One might say that looking at the work of 30 female photographers is ‘positive discrimination’, and so it is, to the necessary extent where a focus is placed on the work of women, whether or not you view their work as intrinsically ‘female’ or ‘feminine’ — or simply human.
The women here photograph men, women, animals, landscapes, objects — and even themselves, which, in cases where one’s work as a female photographer is questioned, can be even more problematic. Female self-portraiture is a genre unto itself; and with the advent of digital cameras, access to computer processing, and photo-sharing, more and more everyday women have taken up the pursuit of picturing themselves in images which on one hand perpetuate the notion of the feminized subject, and on the other hand, defy the rules of traditional positioning by pulling the strings to their own visual representation.
Whichever work you enjoy most of these women in 30 UNDER 30, see it as you will, but sustain an open mind, take your time in relishing the imagery and bearing in mind the different experiences of every artist involved.
— Natalie Dybisz
Editor's note: See the 30UNDER30 website for more images and details about each photographer.