International Women’s Day, and the strong message of empowerment and hope for equality that it represents, has become a day to celebrate the achievements of women around the world. Far too often in the field of photography, however, women are not the ones behind the camera.
At Sun Studios in Sydney’s inner west, Agender, in partnership with Dermalogica, presented their latest exhibition: Balance For Better, highlighting the work of female photographers resisting the boys club of photography. This year, 22 female artists were included in the exhibition, with the likes of Anna Pogossova, Bec Lorrimer, Cara O’Dowd, Leila Jeffreys and Yasmin Suteja joining other established and up and coming Australian artists.
Established in 2018, this Australian alliance ensures that some of the most talented female photographers in the country are given an elevated platform on which to show their artworks to the world. Put succinctly, Agender co-founder Cybele Malinowski described the event as “a celebration of the great talent, wisdom and experience of female photographers.” Further, she goes on to highlight the inclusivity of the event and the inequality of the industry at large. “Our aim is to create new pathways for women at the start of their careers, and central to that is addressing the inequality in pay, diversity and opportunities given to women in the industry.”
The exhibition’s title, Balance For Better stems from the International Women’s Day 2019 message of the same name. Ideas of balance and equality, synonymous for a just and discrimination-free society, are at the core of the motivations behind Agender. While the event gives a platform to female photographers, it also attempts to provide material change for women in 2019 by donating 50 per cent of the profits from artwork sales to the Sydney Women’s Fund. This notion of balance is important for all genders, stated exhibiting artist Leila Jeffreys: “Balance is the answer in all aspects of our lives. I love to see work by both women and men as sometimes we have a different way of viewing the world. That difference should be celebrated and encouraged.”
In an industry and society in which female voices and ideas are watered down and controlled by patriarchal values, and the rise of imposter syndrome is felt by women in power worldwide, it is events like this that become all the more valuable. Garnering a sense of empowerment and inspiration, this year’s Agender photography exhibition provides a pathway for the next generation female photographers.
Balance for Better is open to the public from March 9 – 31. Hours: Mon – Fri, 9am - 6pm; Sat – Sun, 8am - 4pm.