This year or maybe last, origins being somewhat fuzzy, Professional Women Photographers celebrated its 40th anniversary. Officially the start was 1975, but it was probably 1976 when it really got going. Participants from the landmark FIT show, Breadth of Vision: Portfolios of Women Photographers, began to meet. Sometimes they spoke about prints, sometimes about job leads, and sometimes they nursed bruises received trying to fight their way into the field. If it’s tough now, it was worse then. They tell stories of sweeping up in the darkroom after men, of being shoved during shoots, of hands clapped over their lenses so the guy could get the shot. In college, I went to Olden to buy a camera and the salesman demanded to see my bank book to prove I could pay for it. Young and stupid, I showed it to him.
Things change, sometimes for the better. Sure, we have problems now. We work a job then come home and work some more. We care for old people as well as children. We don’t make as much money. And around the world, far too many struggle for basic human rights.
But freedom cannot be untasted. Wherever we need to go, we should think of how far we’ve come, and of those who paved the way. Take a moment and think about the women in your life. Think about their strength, how much they’ve accomplished, how they brighten the world.
The sisters are doing it–for themselves and everybody else. They’re going where the music–their own music–takes them, singing their song, making their own kind of pictures. And during this special month, we salute them.
– Catherine Kirkpatrick