Female speakers for Camera Club evenings

HelenaJ 8 3
16 Nov 2014 10:12AM
Dear all,

I have been tasked with putting together a programme of speakers for our local Camera Club and am really struggling to have a representative number of women speakers. I have searched numerous camera club programmes and am honestly appalled by how few women speakers are booked. I think that they are in danger of becoming social clubs for men over 60 and the speakers they generally chose reflect this. However, after this rant and in an effort to redress this balance, I would like to ask kind ephotozine folks out there if they can recommend any women who can do informative and interesting talks for 2 hrs on a Wednesday evening in North Derbyshire. If you can suggest anyone or put yourself forward I would love to hear from you.

Thank you!

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Martin54 13 546 United Kingdom
16 Nov 2014 10:42AM

You could try Martine Hamilton Knight who does talks on architectural photography. I've been on a couple of her courses and she is a very enthusiastic & knowledgeable photographer
thewilliam 11 6.1k
16 Nov 2014 10:54AM
Have you consulted the PAGB list?
Dave_Canon Plus
13 1.6k United Kingdom
16 Nov 2014 10:59AM
One of the best I have seen and she is visiting my club again this season is Fiona Senior FRPS. I had thought that she was living in the north but I can see from Google that she seems to be mainly speaking at Clubs in the central southern part of England so probably lives in this area. Even if this is the case, she would be well worth the extra travel cost as she is probably one of the best professional photographers of children.

I think that Camera Clubs like all other social clubs are up against the fact that fewer people will join such clubs now. However, in the area of social clubs there are still a number of female only clubs (WI, TG) so camera clubs will always struggle to achieve 50% female membership. I am in a relatively large club and we can only manage 25% female membership though we have 33% female membership on the Committee. I suspect that the smaller number of female speakers listed only reflects the lower female membership and not any other reason. We would also be happy to have younger speakers (male or female) but fewer younger speakers are available.

Belleyeteres 9 264 United Kingdom
16 Nov 2014 11:04AM
I can vouch for Martine Hamilton Knight. We have had her at our club before. When I tried to book female speakers for our club I searched the web for good female phographers and sent some a email asking if they would do a talk. Most declined. I think it was because they did not want to give away there trade secrets.
thewilliam 11 6.1k
16 Nov 2014 3:50PM
I don't care about the gender of a speaker because I listen to the wisdom that he/she imparts.
RoyChilds 12 107 England
16 Nov 2014 8:09PM
Two top photographer's in Derbyshire Fran Halsall and Karen Frenkel

HelenaJ 8 3
16 Nov 2014 9:30PM
Thank you very much for everyone's suggestions and comments so far. I will certainly investigate Martine Hamilton Knight and Fiona Senior FRPS. Both Fran Halsall and Karen Frenkel have spoken at our club recently and are excellent and if anyone else is looking for speakers, I would second these recommendations without hesitation.

This is very helpful so any more recommendations anyone would like to offer would be welcomed.
monstersnowman 14 1.7k 1 England
17 Nov 2014 3:40AM
I couldnt care less about the gender of a speaker and actually if I feel people are trying to shoe horn specific genders into certain areas just to create some gender equality for the sake of it, it really turns me away .. It's what is said rather than the gender of the person saying it that matters 100%.
Belleyeteres 9 264 United Kingdom
17 Nov 2014 4:06AM
At our club we do not select female speakers because of gender equality it is because they sometimes have a different perspective on the picture being taken.
HelenaJ 8 3
17 Nov 2014 10:14AM
I can see that this discussion has struck a cord and there are obviously going to be differing opinions about the importance of providing a balanced selection of speakers in terms of gender. There are a number of reasons why I think this is important, but first and foremost it is essential that the quality and standard of the speaker is the primary criteria for selection, after this there are a number of other criteria to consider.

Ultimately we have to start with the assumption that women have as much to offer photography as men. As a camera club if we are trying to be inclusive in terms of photographic styles, subjects, methods and approaches we also have to be inclusive in terms of the type and hence gender of the speakers. If there are 10 speakers in a club programme and all are male and over 60 years of age, this can hardly be seen to be inclusive in any sense. It would give club members a skewed perception of the world of photography and a distorted sense of what is possible.

Speakers are important because they are employed to impart their knowledge and skills, and if we are only employing a subset of society this is discriminatory. But much worse that this is the message it conveys to the club members. If only men are employed as speakers this implies that men are the ones with influence, with important things to say, who should be listened to. It also deprives members of seeing that it is possible to be a successful female photographer.

In our club we have had several female speakers who have been engaging, interesting and inspirational. Like all speakers they offer their individual perspective on the art and influence club members by what they say and demonstrate. If we have to seek out similar speakers in order to offer a balanced representation of the world of photography, then it is to the advantage of all club members.

mikehit 10 8.0k 13 United Kingdom
17 Nov 2014 10:26AM

Quote: if we are only employing a subset of society this is discriminatory.

I applaud your motives and agree with them but please, please, PLEASE do not bring this overused, overblown and irrelevant aspect to it. I agree that many photoclubs do give the wrong impression with not only the profile of the membership (ours is quite 'mature' so I can see the issue) but also the speakers, some of whom ar antiquated not only in personality but also attitude and skills. So I think it is great you are trying to bring a diversity of speakers relating to gender as well as age.
Dave_Canon Plus
13 1.6k United Kingdom
17 Nov 2014 12:08PM
Our Club Programme Secretary has to book 15 good external speakers each season. It is a struggle to find 15 interesting speakers each season and we cannot keep inviting back the same speakers. The main source of speakers are the PAGB handbook and although we may not like it, the majority of speakers are mature males; there is nothing we can do about this. We also choose additional speakers from outside this list by contacting other Clubs and asking for recommendations and sometimes just taking a chance. We have only 2 of the 15 female this season and it was 4 out of 15 last season (exceptional). I am quite certain that our Prog Sec is not choosing speakers to match our membership profile but picking the best that he/she can get. Next seasons programme is currently being planned by a new Prog Sec (who happens to be female) so it will be interesting to see if she can find more female speakers.

We also organise at least one special ticketed event per season when the tickets are on sale to the public as well as members. We try to hire nationally well known photographers which the public will have heard of as well as members. It is a real struggle to identify many of these at all in the UK and, so far, no one has suggested a famous UK female photographer available for such events. If you know of any, I would be interested.

Photography is one hobby/pastime where male and female can definitely complete on an equal basis but it seems that less females are interested in Photography to the extent of joining a Club. We actually encourage couples to join our club and offer a discount. Our interpretation of a couple is broad.

adrian_w Plus
12 3.8k 4 England
17 Nov 2014 3:51PM

Quote: ..we also have to be inclusive in terms of the type and hence gender of the speakers.

How many coloured speakers are you booking?
dcash29 14 2.4k England
17 Nov 2014 4:56PM
Sounds to me that the answer is to find suitable female photographers with knowledge, drag them by the hair against their will to the photography club, stand them in the front of the members and make them talk.

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