So, I’ve been reading this book (which was recommended to me by Nicole from Eternal Summers). It’s a collection of articles written be women music critics, musicians and the like. Some of it is about what it’s like to exist in the boy’s club of the music business. As journalists, they are allowed access to that club but are always reminded that they don’t quite fit in. It’s an experience I know well – every once in a while I have to put the book down mid-article and go for a walk because their descriptions hit home.
Quite often, I am the only girl in the room – or in the van. There are times when that is truly ok. I have been the only girl in the van while doing a photo shoot (straddling the driver’s seat no less) and that was a blast. I’ve been in the rehearsal studio and sat on the floor between 5 guys — and to this day it’s my favorite “show” of that band. I’m not sure if I was considered one of the boys either time – it didn’t feel that way.
There are other times when it’s a challenge. Sometimes, I have to be one of the boys — I can get better results when shooting a portrait when the guys don’t feel like a woman is taking their photo. Once while shooting a band’s recording session, they devolved into a locker room conversation which was just awful for me to be present for – the only girl in the room (in the entire studio, in fact) standing against a wall with nowhere to go and silently compliant. Recently, I did a photo shoot where the band was literally changing their pants and their manager laughed at me for waiting to enter the room until they were finished. Other times, I am invisible (my only defense) to avoid being treated like “a silly girl – you know how they are”. Being one of the boys is not usually fun – it takes a bit of my humanity away each time but I could not do what I do and have it be any other way.
I’m luckier than some of these ladies as most of the photographers I shoot with on a regular basis are friendly. We only judge the quality of the work not the gender… The photo pit can be an aggressive place but for the most part (with the exception of once being groped in the pit) there is mutual respect for one another.
So, I guess things are getting better but have quite a way to go for those of us that choose to pursue roads more frequently traveled by men. Everyone should check out this book. There’s so much history and perspective in there. It’s interesting to get the different points of view as well – all collected in one place.