November 20th, 2015

NYT Mag Hires Male Photographer for Sexism in Hollywood Cover Story

This week's New York Times Magazine cover, featuring portraits by Art Streiber.

This week’s New York Times Magazine cover, featuring portraits by Art Streiber.

For a cover story this week by Maureen Dowd about how challenging it is for women to build a career in the male-dominated world of Hollywood, The New York Times Magazine needed portraits of 60 female directors, actors and executives. They hired a male photographer to shoot the portraits.

To be sure, that photographer—Art Streiber—is a renowned editorial portrait photographer. But women photographers have been expressing their disappointment on social media over the irony of the Times Magazine’s decision. “There are actual women photographers based in L.A. who shoot great portraits,” wrote Jill Greenberg on Instagram. Greenberg is a New York-based editorial and commercial photographer who has spoken out against sexism in photography. “It just makes no sense for this story. Sadly though, the photo industry is exactly the same as the film industry and women just aren’t the go-to shooters.”

The New York Times Magazine Director of Photography Kathy Ryan told PDN that she understands that women photographers might look at the situation and be discouraged. “But I don’t think that they should feel that because this particular story didn’t have a woman photographer assigned to it, that there aren’t opportunities for women photographers in this magazine.” She points out that the other major story in this week’s issue was photographed by Stephanie Sinclair, and that two weeks ago the cover story on displaced people–which Ryan calls “one of the biggest ever” assignments for the magazine—was photographed by Lynsey Addario.

Ryan says the idea of having a woman photographer shoot this week’s cover was discussed briefly, but they quickly moved on to thinking Streiber was the right person for the assignment, which required as many as ten to 20 shots a day, and had a challenging deadline. “It was clearly going to call for somebody very nimble and fast and versatile, and we thought of Art. We weren’t thinking about gender, we were just thinking about, ‘How do we pull this off?’ And he came to mind and I think he did a terrific job.”

The decision making is “always about trying to figure out for a given project who would be the right person based on the look of the pictures, the artistry, the eye, the visual sensibility as well as experience,” Ryan adds.

In the article, “The Women of Hollywood Speak Out,” Dowd writes that one executive told her: “A lot of [women] haven’t tried hard enough. We’re tough about it. It’s a hundred-year-old business, founded by a bunch of old Jewish European men who did not hire anybody of color, no women agents or executives. We’re still slow at anything but white guys.”

Do women photographers face similar challenges? “I would say yes, they do,” Ryan acknowledges. “One of the things that’s always surprising is when you see how many women photographers graduate from the various photo schools and photo programs and then ten years on, not as many stay in the field. So there are certainly some disparities still.”

That The New York Times Magazine, a client everyone wants to work with, didn’t hire a woman to shoot a cover story about women fighting for a voice in a male-dominated industry may be a missed opportunity for a symbolic gesture of solidarity.

But Ryan says she doesn’t want women photographers to “think that somehow there aren’t opportunities [at the magazine], because I feel very passionately that there are, and that’s important to us: To have women’s points of view, that diversity, that range in our pages is important.”

Related: Photographer Maggie Steber on Women, Minorities, and How to Nurture Talent
Why All The Articles in PDN’s New Issue Are About Women Photographers
How One Magazine Strives for Gender Balance in Assignments
Are Women Photographers Being Discriminated Against in the Editorial Market?

October 28th, 2015

Lucie Awards: George Tice, Kathy Ryan Honored; Sandro and Maxim Dondyuk Share International Photographer of the Year

Fran Drescher and Simon Doonan honor Roxanne Lowit, who won the Lucie Award for Achievement in Fashion.

Fran Drescher and Simon Doonan honor Roxanne Lowit, who won the Lucie Award for Achievement in Fashion.

George Tice, Jerry Uelsmann, Danny Lyon, Roxanne Lowitt, Stephanie Sinclair and photo editor Kathy Ryan were among the honorees at the 13th annual Lucie Awards, held last night at New York City’s Carnegie Hall. The International Photography Award was a tie: The honor was split between the Ukraine-based Maxim Dondyuk, honored for his recent work on the ongoing conflict and demonstrations in his country, and Chicago-based photographer Sandro, whose project “Malkovich, Malkovich, Malkovich” reimagined classic photos with actor John Malkovich as his sole subject.

The Discovery of the Year award went to the Finnish photographer Ville Kansanen for his fine-art project “The Procession of Spectres.” The Lifetime Achievement award went to large-format documentary photographer George Tice, who noted in his acceptance speech that he won his first trophy for his photography when he was 14.

Rangefinder‘s Libby Peterson reported on the awards ceremony. For her full report on the awards, including winners of the awards for curator of the year, book publisher of the year and photo editor of the year, see Rangefinder‘s Photo Forward blog.

Related:

Maxim Dondyuk: Inside a Camp for Cossack Youth

June 15th, 2015

LOOK3 2015: David Alan Harvey’s Reunion with a Long-Lost Subject (and Other Surprises)

David Alan Harvey greets Lois Liggins on stage at the the 2015 LOOK3 festival, in front of a portrait of Liggins that Harvey shot in 1966. ©Jessica Earnshaw

David Alan Harvey greets Lois Liggins on stage at the the 2015 LOOK3 festival, in front of a portrait of Liggins that Harvey shot in 1966. ©Jessica Earnshaw

David Alan Harvey’s artist talk on the main stage at LOOK3 in Charlottesville on Saturday included several surprises: a peek at some of Harvey’s precocious early work, images from his latest project (called Beach Games, an exploration in black and white of beach sports culture in Rio), his insistence (against much evidence to the contrary) that he doesn’t consider himself a color photographer or an extrovert–and a heartwarming guest appearance by a long-lost subject from a project he shot when he was 22. (more…)

May 20th, 2013

NY Times Public Editor Questions T Magazine Photoshopping Policy

In an editorial published yesterday in The New York Times, the newspaper’s public editor, Margaret Sullivan, questioned the rules regarding Photoshopping at T, the monthly style magazine published by the Times, and suggested that readers should be notified when fashion images have been digitally manipulated. She also pointed out that editors shouldn’t assume that readers understand the difference between the standards for a news photograph and a fashion photograph.

Responding to comments last week from readers that a T cover model was too skinny, T editor Deborah Needleman told Sullivan that T editors had considered “adding fat” to the model using Photoshop.

Another Times reporter called the comment “jaw-dropping” because journalistic standards would never allow for photography manipulation.

Drawing on comments from other Times picture editors including Michelle McNally of The Times and Kathy Ryan of The New York Times Magazine, Sullivan affirmed the Times’ photography standards: “The Times does not stage news photographs, or alter them digitally.” Except, Sullivan noted, in T‘s case, where it’s deemed acceptable to alter fashion and glamour photography. The assumption being that readers are aware that fashion and glamour is a “different genre of photography,” and therefore the Times’ obligation to those readers is different.

“It would be best if all the photography produced by the Times newsroom could be held to the same standard,” Sullivan wrote. But, she said, if fashion photography must exist as its own world of assumed fantasy, there should be a disclaimer for readers.

Is it realistic to expect that the Times could hold fashion photography to the same standards as news photography? Do readers need to be told that fashion images aren’t “real?”