Celebrating Women in Photography

by The Creative Cloud Team

posted on 03-09-2018

Women’s History Month is a time to celebrate women and see the world through women’s eyes — an opportunity to celebrate and remember the history and impact of women in our country and the world. Since these stories so often go untold, we are taking time to reflect on and recognize the role women play in creative fields and in shaping the state of aesthetics, photography, and our world views.

With the “Make It” show, we’ve been lucky enough to interview women who are at the top of their field in photography. This month, we sat down off-camera with Elise Swopes, Nichole Washington, and Lindsay Adler to hear what they had to say about the opportunities and challenges they face as women in their careers, and share their advice they have for photographers.

Adventurous spirits

It’s no secret: women have it tough when it comes to the working world. Whether in finance or photography, women face both subtle and overt challenges every day.

The images in Elise Swopes’s Instagram feed reveal an adventurous spirit. @swopes has 250k followers on Instagram and has partnered Adobe, Adidas, and Nike. Her photographs are whimsical, masterfully edited mashups and selfies from around the world. But digging a little deeper, you find that she is always on guard when traveling, and is frustrated that she “can’t just go anywhere at any time.” She doesn’t let it stop her travels, but she often chooses to travel with a partner.

Nicole Washington’s vibrant and strong portraits — recently highlighted on Refinery29 and published in Mfon: Women Photographers of the African Diaspora — are characterized by a punchy graphic twist, As a black female artist, Washington recalls that her photography education failed to address the legacies and careers of black women photographers. This meant she has had to seek out her own mentors and the voices that resonate with her experiences. It also means that the world is seeing only a small sliver of experience.

Lindsay Adler is a portrait photographer whose fashion editorials and portraits of women have appeared in Elle, Professional Photographer, and countless others. Today she is booked solid with photo shoots all over the world, but early in her career Adler found herself rejected over and over with the same refrain: ‘Women can’t lift heavy things.’” As a result, she’s made a point of hiring women for internship roles, knowing that they can lift heavy things, can manage studio lighting, and can handle the suite of other ‘masculine’ tasks that people assumed she was incapable of.

Advice from the top

_Make sure you love it. Believe it. Practice it.
_Elise Swopes

In spite of constantly watching their backs, having history ignore them, and being rejected for false limitations, these three women and countless others have climbed to the tops of their respective fields. To reach this level, they worked to develop portfolios even before they had clients and incomes, identified and pursued their ideal careers, and, according to Washington, maintained a “persistent and motivated attitude.”

Adler uses her photographs to empower — not objectify — her female models, stating, “it is important for women to shoot women in a way that conveys our complexities and many levels of beauty.” And she was upfront when asked what advice she would give to women coming up in the profession: “Don’t be ashamed to value (and demand) your worth.”

If you’d like to learn more about Elise Swopes, Nichole Washington, and Lindsay Adler, check out their processes and perspectives in their interviews on Creative Cloud’s YouTube channel.

Topics: Creativity, Diversity & Inclusion, Photography

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