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Objectifs’ Emmeline Yong on Shifting the Mindset of the Photography Industry

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“Because we’re still at a point where there is disparity, I think there remains a need to create concerted opportunities and platforms that can help level the playing field. When we have a shift in mindset in the industry, it can then begin to change itself.”

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

BJP talked to Emmeline Yong – Co-Founder and Centre Director of Objectifs  and Female in Focus 2021 judge – to hear her vision on the diversity in the photography industry.

© Valentina Sinis, Female in Focus 2020 Winning Body of Work.

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

The gatekeepers at institutions, including creative directors, editors and curators, may still have an inherent or systemic bias, that supports a certain type of work or pedigree of photographers. I believe that having diversity at a decision-making level can open channels to different voices and lived experiences.

Because we’re still at a point where there is disparity, I think there remains a need to create concerted opportunities and platforms that can help level the playing field. When we have a shift in mindset in the industry, it can then begin to change itself.

© Dimpy Bhalotia, Female in Focus 2020 Single Image Winner

In what ways have you seen the industry improve for women across your experience?

For me, one of the most heartening trends in recent years has been community building among photographers, supporting and advocating for one another. Platforms like Women Photograph, Fotos Feminas, and Thuma Collective (Myanmar) have led to exciting collaborations, while elevating the artistic and professional profile of women and non-binary photographers. Spotlighting this depth and diversity of untapped talent has encouraged some institutional decision-makers to expand inclusive hiring practices or rethink curatorial approaches.

© Carmen Daneshmandi, Female in Focus 2020 Single Image Winner.

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

Tell stories of issues or concerns that you care deeply about. Your work reflects the emotional connection you make with your subject or the community you photograph, and that in turn draws viewers into caring about them.

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 17 June 2021 (23:59 UK Time)

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

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