WePresent’s Holly Fraser Joins the Judging Panel for Female In Focus 2021

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“More opportunities should be given to women and non-binary photographers from different backgrounds early on in their careers, and I don’t think that you always need a degree from a top school to prove that you’re talented.”

Female in Focus is a global award recognising women’s extraordinary contribution to contemporary photography. Enter the 2021 edition now.

BJP caught up with Holly Fraser – Editor-in-Chief of WePresent and a Female in Focus 2021 judge – to hear her insights on how far women have come in the photography industry, how far they have to go, and what she’s looking for in entries this year.

© Rita Leistner / Courtesy of Stephen Bulger Gallery

How do you ensure that WeTransfer champions work from a multitude of different perspectives?

At WePresent, the editorial arm of WeTransfer, we work hard to champion work from all over the world and to date have featured creatives from more than 100 different countries. We have monthly curation meetings and look critically at our existing and upcoming commissions to ensure that they are balanced and that we’re telling different stories from multiple perspectives. We also work with freelancers from all over the world to ensure that our storytelling is as authentic as possible, and we make sure that those telling the stories – whether writers or photographers – understand the nuance of any given situation. The core mission of WePresent has always been to highlight and create the most representative work possible. We believe that more voices equals better ideas, and our editorial reflects this.

© Natalia Poniatowska.

What do you think we can all do to make the photography industry more gender-balanced?

I think as editors we have a responsibility to ensure that the stories being told are from multiple and diverse perspectives across gender, but also across geography, race and background. The more that this kind of work is seen in the photography industry, the better because, for a long time, I feel like mainstream imagery has been very homogenised. Sharing and celebrating representative work increases the appetite for it too, because it just becomes more seen. But also, it’s about mindful hiring policies. More opportunities should be given to women and non-binary photographers from different backgrounds early on in their careers, and I don’t think that you always need a degree from a top school to prove that you’re talented. In that respect I actually think that social media has been really helpful, it’s a great way to showcase your work and get your foot in the door.

© Beth Knight.

What advice do you have for women and non-binary photographers thinking of applying to Female in Focus 2021?

Be true to yourself and the stories that you want to tell. I often see a lot of work that is very much in the style of such and such photographer, and while we are all inspired by what has come before us, the photography that always stands out to me is work that feels personal and a little bit different. I think that capturing the nuance of any subject works best when you are wholly invested in it. 

Female in Focus champions the work of world-class women and non-binary photographers across the world.

Enter today to see your work exhibited in a group show in the US

Deadline for entries 10 June 2021 (23:59 UK Time)

For more information on Female in Focus and how to enter visit: 1854.photography/awards/female-in-focus