EQUAL TREATMENT

I’ve been a wedding photographer for 12 years now but my photography journey started about 20 years ago. I’ve worked in photography galleries, I’ve been a photographer’s assistant, I have done and produced shoots. I have been a photo editor and a photographer in magazines, newspapers and press agencies. I have studied photography in different schools, yet I never experienced sexism or was treated as inferior before I started shooting weddings.

EQUAL TREATMENT was something so natural that it didn’t need discussing when I started working in a male-dominated photography world. When I fucked something up, I would get a slam for it, just like any other person would do. Whenever I did a great job, I would get as much praise as others. And this was something that suited me well. Believe me, I am far from thinking that women deserve some special treatment. What’s important, though, is that there must be equal treatment for men and women.

The example of NIKON shows how male-dominated the photography world still is. If such a global company did not make an effort to invite at least one woman ambassador to their 2017 promotion of D850 Nikon, this leads me to believe that there is something seriously wrong with the company. And our world of photography, too. Especially if you take into account the fact that women make up 50 per cent of all photographers. So, it’s not about getting more women into photography. It is representation that is a problem in photography, and all other industries. Maybe you don’t see it because you don’t experience it directly. But now that you’re aware of it, you will probably start to notice it more.

Let’s get back to equal treatment, shall we? I believe that self-confident men do not lower themselves to prove they are better than women. And self-confident women speak with their own voices and do not let anyone walk over them. Nor do they do it to anyone else. So who takes pleasure in putting others down? And why are there so many of them? Remember what the Internet was supposed to do? Yes, connect us. Unfortunately, it is dividing and polarising us more and more. It’s getting harder and harder just being together, talking and seeing beyond the end of our noses. Our online addiction is killing our curiosity, humanity and empathy.

People working for the press used to have an unwritten code of conduct. Whether you liked somebody or not, you still respected them and let them do their job. When I work at weddings, on the other hand, I often meet random people who think it is easy money and who are often inexperienced and unable to work in a team. A private or an advertising photo shoot is something very different from shooting a wedding. Different rules apply to a photo set where everything can be repeated over and over again until the whole team is happy with the results. At a wedding you don’t get a second chance. Everything happens in haste and emotions are running very high. Therefore, the cooperation in the team is crucial whether you like each other or not.
Unfortunately, when I shoot weddings, I often get rather brusque and humiliating treatment. From women, too. I get it from people with no experience in the industry.

Not to mention all the curious advice about how to take pictures I get from people working together with me at a wedding, for example makeup artists, hairdressers, wedding designers, florists, venue managers, wedding planners, or musicians. Instead of doing their job in the best and most efficient way, the way work should always be done, they will say: ‘Oh well, you can just photoshop it, right?’ They say it because they are not the ones who are affected by such an approach. Or because that’s the way you work on a photo shoot. Or because it’s just so much easier to work that way. Or because they are lazy. Or because they can’t care less. And also because they have no experience and they don’t know any better.

I am sorry to say this, but such behaviour often results in us spending extra hours editing our pictures because of imperfections with the bride’s hair or make-up, for instance. But remember, again! A wedding is not a film set, and the effects have to last for hours, not for a few minutes. And we are not there to tweak somebody else’s boo-boos. Let us be clear on that one. We do not photoshop anybody else’s mistakes.

Unfortunately, the so-called cooperation among people who work in the wedding industry has been looking grim for the last few years. People are not talking to each other. They express their opinion, instead. They agree to do the job because it is easy money. They do not worry about the consequences of their mistakes and slip-ups at work. As a result, it is usually the bride herself, not them, who pays for their low quality work.

Therefore we appreciate working with people who are team-oriented and who do not only deliver fantastic work but also create a brilliant atmosphere which is extremely important when you are working at a wedding.

Thinking of what Madeleine Albright said: “There is a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women.” Women who are not willing to cooperate and who do not see a woman and a partner in another woman, but an enemy, and who want to prove they are better at all costs. Such women are poor, self-conscious creatures who do not do themselves or anyone a favour by creating a hostile environment around them.

My friend who works at a lower secondary school in Norway teaches her teenage students about feminism. This subject should be obligatory in every school and I wish I had had it too.
Extremes are dangerous. I hope we all experience more equal treatment, tolerance, and balance in our lives.

JUNIORINK WOMAN by WhiteSmoke Studio
© Michal Warda for Juniorink