Quote Originally Posted by chriscrawfordphoto View Post
How many of those students stayed involved in photography after graduating or leaving school? As I mentioned, exactly ONE of the women in my college photo classes stuck with it after graduating. ONE. Out of 14 or 15. Out of the 10 men in the program, 6 are still doing photography. Four of us are fulltime pros. So is the one woman.

Women are absolutely capable of mastering the technical aspects of it. My former classmate did, and she is a very creative artist whose work I love. I respect her as a person and an artist. There are several women here on APUG and on the Leica users group and Rangefinderforum (other places I talk photography online) who also create magnificent work and have mastered the technical stuff too. Still, based on what I have seen, I think most women do not have the desire to do so or the drive to succeed as professionals. If that upsets women, they alone have the power to change it. Shooting the messenger might make you feel good, but it changes nothing.
I'm not interested in shooting the messenger, but I think the message is flawed. You're making some sweeping generalizations about women based on rather narrow anecdotal evidence, I'd say. So, I'll offer my own anecdotal evidence, and broad sweeping conclusion: I can't speak to my classmates from art school as I've lost touch with many of them, but if my experience as a photography editor at a national news magazine in the 90's is any guide, there were more men on staff, but an equal number of women working freelance. I hired, I'd say, about half the freelance assignments to women and about half to men. I expected professional and consistent results, and never found the women photographers I worked with to be less driven or ambitious than the men. And there are a lot of women photographers working today. Further, I think the reason more men had those coveted staff positions had a lot to do with the kind of institutional misogyny that pervades so many companies (and online forums) displayed here. I mean, look at this thread, we've had bad jokes, and people demeaning the type of photography that many women choose to do as being some kind of "chickening" out. These attitudes pervade almost every aspect in the field of photography.

In the years since I was working at a magazine, things have become harder for anyone (men and women) to make a living at photography. I don't think it's a lack of drive or discipline, but the economics of the marketplace being flooded with photographs, and I'm sure there are still many editors and curators whose dim (though misguided) views of women make it harder for women to succeed in this field. And of course, we all have our own personal choices to make regarding our responsibilities with our families... I'd think just as many men would give up the stress of the freelance life for a steady paycheck when he's responsible for a couple of kids... it's not an easy road for a photographer to support a family, and that's not just a problem for women.

and to the OP, I'd suggest he start going to photography shows as opposed to camera shows, then he'll see a lot of women who are actively engaged in the field of photography.