Nieves Limón. PhD. In Mass Media Research (“Photographic self-representation strategies. Frida
Kahlo case study” Extraordinary PhD Award 2016). She is currently a teacher and researcher at
Universidad Carlos III in Madrid. Her line of work revolves mainly around the theory and analysis of
the photographic image. She recently coordinated the female photographic project of creation and
research known as Género y Figura.

Gender perspective: giving female photographers the place they deserve

There is a current deficit of female photographers. It comes as no surprise that the work of many women is excluded from many photography contests, festivals or publications. It is also quite common to stumble upon publicly funded institutional platforms that include, in the best-case scenario, just a couple of projects made by female photographers. The reasons behind this unlikely innocent omission are quite clear: the lion’s share goes to the ones choosing and it is not very likely that a woman is among the decision makers.

The consequences of this are perverse: not only are the exclusion dynamics perpetuated, but the wrong idea that there are not enough female photographers or that they are not as talented as the competitive context demands becomes widespread. However, there are initiatives such as 30 under 30, Women Photographers or Firecracker , among others, that have showed us how mistaken these conclusions are and that have also paved the path for ways of changing this situation.

Along these lines, and with the intention of working on three specific areas, we established GYF almost two years ago. In the first place, we have sought to reflect on these matters and introduce feminist debates within the Spanish photographic context. Secondly, our intention has been that of including content in social networks, producing and disseminating our own materials so that people can learn about this subject (bibliography and webography about female photographers, Wikipedia entries, posts about doubts that come up in forums and meetings we take part to, or texts like Por qué es importante la fotografía - Why photography matters - to explain the links we establish between feminism and some photographic works).

Finally, we decided to counteract this situation as much as we could and we set forth three open calls : one targeted at producing a small female photographer’s photobook, another one to make three video clips in which different female professional photographers could present their projects, and a last one to establish an image and database including the contact information of female photographers.

This way we were able to enjoy projects like those that accompany this text. Ana Paes taught us about her thoroughness when she was working on the images included in Vibración (Vibration) ; Brenda Moreno shared with us the strength of BtoB ; Candela Sotos showed us her visual research about the Levant in Beirut Waiting and with Helena Goñi we were able to learn about the challenging production work that lies behind a publication while discovering the way she sees things in Behind Blue Eyes . In addition to these proposals, we also became acquainted with works such as In Between by Maria Baoli and a total of 74 projects made by female photographers that are currently available on the GYF site. Along the way, we also tried to create a space for those female professionals in our area that face the challenges that come with an excluding photographic context and that, in spite of this, continue to produce and discover subversive photographic practices which disobey the dominant codes of representation.

Two years after we started this project we still believe that this is the only way in which we can change the photographic history of Spain, or at the very least, create a more honest and truthful portrait of our visual culture.


generoyfigura.com