Being involved in the photography industry as I am, you will find me dawdling down the aisles of photography trade fairs and conferences on an annual basis. I’m not quite ready to admit that I am ‘nerding out’ with my husband, but there is a certain amount of excitement that comes with checking out the latest ‘next best thing’ or visiting suppliers, old and new.
Now it was my intention to write a post for TMK about the ridiculous sizes of lenses I saw during my visit, hence the title, however, as I started to post-process my images, I was suddenly struck by the distinct lack of women in any of my shots or indeed at the show. And so, true to form, I decided to change the subject matter. Interestingly enough though, the title of my blog post remains pertinent.
Recalling my visit, I remembered that as I made my way through the crowds, I was jostled and hustled by a constant stream of large lenses, over-sized rucksacks and beer bellies. And of course, there were the obligatory whiffs of body odour, cheese and onion crisps and coffee breath. Not really my idea of a fun day out if I’m honest. I am not suggesting for one minute that all the male visitors to the show fell into this category, but I don’t recall seeing any beer bellied, crisp eating, coffee swilling female photographers …. I did get very excited momentarily when I spied a pop-up massage stand, with female therapists. But my enthusiasm was soon dampened when I noticed it was full of male clients ……
Now, I’m not an ardent feminist. I couldn’t burn my bra even if I wanted to because
a) I never went to Girl Guide camp and learned how to start a fire
b) My bras appear to have been fashioned out of industrial grade fire-retardant upholstery fabric
c) I’d be sporting black eyes regularly
Sorry I digress …. But neither am I a girly girl who loves all things pink and pretty and fluffy and lovely. But it would have been so much more inspiring and interesting if they had had something for the girls. I mean come on guys – women are photographers too for heaven’s sake and all photographers are visual people. If we don’t want something to look good then we’re in the wrong profession. Call me shallow (I’ve been called worse!), but I LOVE things to look good. Nothing makes me happier than being surrounded by gorgeous things or gorgeous people. Although, I would like to point out that I think beauty comes from within, so who I see as beautiful may differ from who you see.
But anyway, instead of a sea of eye candy, I was confronted with exhibition stands with slick design and merchandise that lacked imagination or visual appeal. The branding was very masculine and so was the ambience. Manly camera gear was displayed on manly mannequins (I guess the clue is in the word!) and everything else just looked, well, rather boring and functional, and in some cases, just plain phallic (see below).
So what’s my point? Well, I have a few really. The first being why was the exhibition aimed mostly at men? Or is this the photographic industry as a whole? Secondly, where were all the women on that Sunday in March (thoughts of alien abduction had crossed my mind, but then realized that I would have been amongst those abducted, so that was clearly not the answer). And thirdly, and perhaps most importantly, if the TMK Team were involved it would have been a totally different type of affair altogether.
Given half the chance we’d love to organize a celebration of the photography world. Everyone would be given a flower instead of a ticket, the stands would be less formal and there would be more gadgets for girls. Bean bags would be all over the place and coffee and cake would be readily available. Oh yes, and bunting. There would be lots of bunting. ….
To support my opinion, just take a look at the few snaps I took of the show.
This is the first stand I saw… what the …? Personally, I don’t think it should have been allowed to be displayed before the watershed ….
The Nikon stand made me feel as though I was in a queue for Nemesis (a scary roller coaster for the un-initiated)
I salute Kis Boutique’s valiant efforts for making it one of the only feminine looking stands.
Is that a lens in your pocket or are you just pleased to see me …?
I rest my case.
Love and blue skies
Words: Louise Bowditch
Photographs: BlueCloud Photography