Launched earlier this summer, The Royal Photographic Society’s Hundred Heroines is an international campaign celebrating women in photography today. The RPS is inviting the general public – not just professional photographers or RPS members – to nominate inspirational contemporary female photographers from around the world and you have until September 28th 2018 to make yours.
If you’re on any form of social media it will have been hard to miss the #HundredHeroines hashtags being posted on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Now in the final month of the campaign, it’s more important than ever for us all to give recognition to the female photographers we connect with, shoot with and take inspiration from all over the world.
In a conversation earlier this week, Del Barrett, Vice-President of The Royal Photographic Society told me:
“We’ve had an extraordinary response to date and have been able to cast a light on many amazing photographers the world over. But there’s still much to do, so we still need everyone’s help to highlight the amazing female photographers in their lives.”
The RPS will be announcing their one hundred heroines finalists on December 14th, one hundred years to the day since women first voted in a UK general election. The campaign will be capped off with a special exhibition of the finalists’ work in 2019, where each heroine will be presented with a specially minted Margaret Harker medal. Harker (1920 – 2013) was the first female president of The Royal Photographic Society and the first female professor of photography in the UK. As a distinguished photographic historian, she was instrumental in the development of photographic education.
I’ve been honoured to have been able to feature a number of photographers already nominated by the community in my ongoing film photographer interviews, so I reached out to a few to ask them what the nominations meant to them:
Monika – USA
My photographic heroines are women who teach, share their knowledge or encourage us to keep creating. They are people who inspire by sharing their work, with openness and honesty. And often they are people who are so busy caring for others, they don’t make the effort to promote themselves. Which is why I’m so excited about the Hundred Heroines campaign – it’s a fantastic opportunity to recognize the wonderful photographers who give so much to our film community.
Rachel Brewster-Wright – UK
Finding out that I’d been nominated was a wonderful, if surreal experience. Working independently as we often do in photography, we’re not always aware of any impact we have on others. Seeing my name on the list really did give me a boost. It wasn’t something I would have ever thought achievable before. Nominations and awards were always things that happened to other people. Just knowing that someone had seen this campaign and spent the time and effort writing in about me was a bloody lovely feeling.
It’s also been a wonderful tool for helping me find out about more female photographers’ work than I would ever normally have come across and in my opinion, that visibility can only be a good thing. Having an organisation such as the RPS adding their weight to a call to arms like this helps elevate the conversation in a way that individually, we find much more difficult.
Isabel Curdes – Denmark
The RPS Hundred Heroines nomination means that to at least one person, my work is about more than beautiful images. It means that I as an artist behind the work manage to make an impression on them. It also is an amazing and humbling feeling to be on that nomination list with so many great female artists.
Jo Farrell – Hong Kong
It’s a great honour to be nominated for the RPS hundred heroines – for my work to be recognised as an important documentation of disappearing women’s traditions is hugely gratifying. It honours the women I document and hopefully opens up a larger discussion on changing our appearance to fit into our own society; what lengths we will go to, to be considered attractive rather, than being loved for who we really are.
What you can do
Nominate: Please have a think about the female photographers who inform and inspire you and your creativity, and head on over to the RPS’ Hundred Heroines website to nominate them. Don’t stop at one; go ahead and nominate every single one of them – you are not limited to submitting just a single nod.
You can make nominations via Instagram or Twitter by tagging the project handle @RPS100Heroines along with a comment as to why you are nominating them. I’d suggest tagging the photographer and an image relating to them or their work.
Spread the word: For my part, I started nominating at least one of my heroines every single day on August 28th and will keep going until the deadline on September 28th. There’s no expectation for you to nominate as many but every single submission helps.
A final word
Before I go, I’m also honoured to be able to tell you that I’ve been asked by the RPS to jump on as an official Ambassador of the Hundred Heroines campaign.
To me, the campaign represents a much-needed celebration of the women I speak with, collaborate with and draw inspiration from every single day. Speaking to the analogue photographic community industry specifically, women are at the forefront of much of our creative innovation, grassroots education programmes and industry.
That this campaign’s main purpose is to recognise and raise the volume of women across the entire community resonates with me and I’m honoured to be able to do my part to in support of that.
In short, expect to see much, much more from me on that front for the rest of this month and beyond!
Thanks to the RPS for the opportunity and thank you for reading.
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