How did Photobetty come about?
The idea of Photobetty came about as I was looking for information
on the Women
in Photojournalism Conference, held last year in Albany,
N.Y. While searching for their Web site, I kept running into
porn sites when plugging "women" and "photography" into different
search engines. Obviously, this was quite infuriating. So after
some thought, I called my friends Candice Cusic and Heather
Stone, two other photogs at the Trib, and asked them what they
thought about putting together a site specifically for women
in the photo business. So we bounced around ideas of what the
women in our field might want in a site like this. And with
the help of computer genius Rob Ray, Photobetty became a reality.
After nearly a year now, searching on "women" and
"photography" hasn't been bringing up the red-light
district it used to. Perhaps we're making a difference, or perhaps
it's just that search engines are getting worse. We think that
it is probably both.
Why is it in e-zine format?
I wanted the site to create a comfortable community and network
for women in all areas of photography -- fine arts, digital
and documentary. And as the works of these photographers are
shown, I hope that women photogs in all areas will be able to
find common threads and inspiring differences in relation to
their own work. In the end, I hope that Photobetty opens communication
between women of all skill levels and fields, possibly even
establishing a network of photographers willing to help one
another out or have lunch if a colleague comes to town for an
assignment or for vacation. The site was launched in April 1999
at the Women in PJ Conference.
So what are the different sections about?
The first section, In the Spotlight, features the work of professional
and student photographers. Not just any work, but work that
motivates and means something to the photographer. To reiterate
that point, we've made one of the requirements an essay in addition
to the standard caption information. I am interested in the
photographers telling the stories they would tell to their friends,
what the project meant to them and what the shoot was like.
Why did they want to do it? Who did they meet? What are their
stories? I wanted this to be a primary part of the site because
the experience is what being a photographer is about for me.
And I think that the photographs are the physical translation
of the experience.
The photographers are chosen based on the quality of their
work. I was impressed with each of these projects when I saw
them. I am not interested in doing any formal critiques on the
projects because I can't stand it when people tell me what to
think about any kind of artwork. The photos are here, and you
can make up your own mind about them. All I have to say is if
I put them on the site, I think they're pretty damn good.
The Singles section is designed to make it easy for people
to submit work. I understand that there are plenty of reasons
why someone wouldn't be able to submit an entire project but
everyone should be able to at least contribute a single image.
Can guys submit work?
I am definitely interested in including work by men on the
site. But I want it to be centered on female issues. This is
loose. I'm thinking anywhere from the birth of a child to a
fashion shoot and/or anything else in between. It will just
depend on what it is.
In Charge is an idea Robin
Daughtridge, chief photographer/picture editor at the Chicago
Tribune, came up with. I had been trying to think of a way
to include women in the business who have inspired me but weren't
shooters themselves. Robin, our first victim, suggested doing
a funky Q & A. I thought this was a great idea. Editors like
Robin and Sonya Doctorian, Director of Photography at the St.
Petersburg Times, have been very instrumental in helping
me develop my personal vision. Through lengthy conversations
with these women, I have grown as a photographer and as a person.
Before You highlights historical women photographers. It is
important to know who the women are that paved the way for us
in our field. It's also interesting to learn about what drove
these women who entered the profession when it was seriously
And what about the name?
Well, for those of us who grew up around skate ramps and the
were people (girls) who hung out with the skaters but didn't
skate. While in college at the University
of Florida, our significant others who hung out in the photolab
at our school paper, The
Independent Florida Alligator, we called photobetties (guys
and girls). Rob, our technical guru, is a skater and I mentioned
the name almost as a joke. We both laughed and immediately agreed
on Photobetty as the name for this Web site.
So that's it. I hope this meets some of the needs of the female
photo community. I am super excited about getting to know all
the vixens of the photo world, past and present!
-- Stephanie Sinclair