Fashion photographers on the emergence of women in the industry

by | May 6, 2019, 0:00 IST

We try to capture the spirit of four fashion photographers throwing light on the female gaze and the emergence of women in a male-dominated industry.

Paradigm shift
Anai Bharucha


“The industry is male-dominated, but we are witnessing a shift in people’s attitude towards female photographers. Today, there are not only more female fashion photographers, but also technicians and cinematographers compared to, say, five years back. India is progressing, and topics like gender equality and feminism are gaining momentum. I hope to promote the female gaze more and more through my pictures in the future.”

Breaking stereotypes
Soumya Iyer


“In India, when you speak of a photographer, people presume that it is a man. At times, I have been mistaken as an assistant on the shoot and not the primary photographer, majorly because of my age and petite structure. It is both hilarious and sad to see the kind of stereotypes that exist. Women are generally viewed to be more sensitive, emotional, and physically weak, none of which are true. Things, however, are changing. Women are stepping up slowly in the industry and I am proud to be a part of it. Talking of the female gaze, I strongly believe that being a woman gives you a different kind of access to your subject’s energy. The level of comfort is better between my models and me because they are able to trust me.”

No objectification
Prerna Nainwal


“Fashion photography is not a numbers’ game. It eventually boils down to your work, regardless of your gender. Some clients may hire only male photographers due to pre-conceived notions, but increasingly, this belief is fading. I feel that the female gaze is neutral and non-voyeuristic. The important question, however, is how a man perceives an image, not only as the creator, but also as a consumer. Hence, even if the female photographer clicks a picture with a female subject, a male heterosexual viewer will apply the male gaze to extract pleasure. In my work, I try not to objectify my subject, be it a male or a female.”

Art precedes all
Riddhi Parekh


“The number of female photographers has increased tremendously over the past few years. In fact, nowadays people have begun to prefer us over our male counterparts. Personally, most models turned to me because they felt safer and more confident. It’s a different feeling altogether to see fashion through a female perspective. It may not seem much, but there is a huge difference between how a man shoots a woman and how a woman shoots a woman. And, slowly but steadily, clients and designers are realising it. That being said, talent and art precedes all. If you are a good photographer with good ethics, male or female, the difference will not matter eventually. As far as the female gaze goes, in my projects like ‘Train Series’ I have tried to capture a strong, independent woman amidst men in a general train compartment. While people thought I was challenging the norm, my intention was to portray her in full glory.”

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