I have been resisting a blog for some time now. It’s been suggested that I write different blog posts about photography tips, etc., but I was left feeling unauthentic with every post I tried to create. I struggle trying to appeal to a targeted audience who have already read the same topics on every photographer’s blog, competing with other men and women, when all I really want is connection. I want truth, beauty, and justice among all the women in my industry fighting for a chance to be deemed “legit” and “worthy.”
I needed to write something that would weave a bond among women striving to make it in a world that can be cruel at times, and yet exhilarating with each step forward . . . each success. I continue to strive to be the best in my profession, and I want to help others navigate their path with the lessons I have learned so far.
I like wearing makeup, dressing up, and feeling beautiful. I love who I am without it all as well. I’m done pretending. There has been a strong theme playing over and over again in my mind since the election telling me to SPEAK OUT for women and STAND UP to all the negativity. I have been told to bury it somewhere and be tough like a man if I wanted to make it in a male dominated industry.
I’ve heard it all:
“You’re lucky you are so pretty.”
“He probably chose to work with you so he had some eye candy.”
“You wear converse? Oh, you must be a real dirty girl.” (Said to me as I am shooting for two male clients, no makeup—stripped of any hint of femininity . . . they still found something inappropriate to say).
“Why are you bending over like that? Are you trying to turn me on?” (As I am packing up gear and loading up equipment to move locations, sweating my ass off to make a paycheck).
“Man she has a nice ass” (as he steps away from me saying it loud enough for me to be aware).
“How did you get this job? Are you sure he doesn’t just want to sleep with you?” (said by a woman and from a man).
“Just be careful Taylor, you never know what their real intentions could be with this job.” (from my mother).
“I think you have some real talent” (as his hand grazes my lower back). “You should be in front of the camera too” (staring at my mouth).
“Who the fuck do you think you are?! Crumbles up invoice and throws it at me. “I’m not paying one penny of this!” Stands up and points his finger at my face. I fight back my pride for fear of being hurt, I fight letting him see me shake, because he doesn’t deserve it. We previously agreed upon the money owed and there were no surprises (or so I thought).
Over time I’ve been beaten down by looking a certain way. I either looked to young, too green, too business, too casual, too pretty. I have stopped wearing makeup, play down my appearance, and dress more ambiguous to force the person I am talking with to see ME, to see how talented and knowledgeable I am. I always have to be ready to spew all the technical details of all my equipment, software and technique when men have quizzed me so they felt I was legitimate or when they felt threatened. ANY hint of uncertainty and they were ready to POUNCE.
How do I sum up all the emotional blockage that has accumulated throughout my photography career thus far? Well, I’m just not going to do it. We are precious and powerful. We all deserve to have a network and sisterhood to help mend the blocks and harness our true creative energy we all were made to give this world. Our world needs us.
One thing I find hard to comprehend is women competing against women. I can’t stand it when other female photographers try to alpha female me or make me feel unworthy of being at their “level.” But I don’t blame them either, they are fighters—and survivors. I need you, we need each other. This world deserves to delight and be served truth through a woman’s perspective.
THIS SEGREGATION MUST END. WOMEN, I don’t care what profession you are in, my experience is not unique, it has happened to all of us in one way or another.
There has been a major shift happening in my life lately. I am no longer afraid to feel beautiful, to embrace the strong wild woman and powerhouse I am becoming. I am on a quest to dive into who I really am.
My focus is to help other women in my industry as well as any other female creators. I’m here to offer advice, help you tackle problems you may be having with lighting or software, and to offer any help I can to get you through an uncomfortable situation or to just listen and help you problem solve.
So, if you are new to the industry and want some real talk about what to expect when you move to Los Angeles, I would love to connect with you. If you have experienced any difficulties on your journey here and have overcome them, I would love to hear how you did it and pass it on to my readers.
Well there it is . . . my pickled heart in a jar.