Female Photographes and Birders on International Women’s Day


I want to acknowledge the significant contribution of women in the birding and nature photography world. The truth is simply that woman face more obstacles and challenges out in the field as photographer. The genre has been traditionally dominated by male photographers, and let’s face it, men can be rather competitive and secretive and loud about their craft. Women also face other challenges, the most important perhaps; safety.

When I first met Netra, we spoke often about astrophotography, the aurora, the comets (like McNaught’s that was visible around 2007 or so) and I asked why she would not just pick-up her gear and get out into the bush to take photos if she loved astro so much.

In hindsight, I realise I took some big things for granted. I never once considered, that being out alone at night at a remote, dark location would possibly have an element of danger. Netra explained that as a single mother of two young kids at the time, she was not in a position to do that. That as a woman, she faces the reality of how vulnerable she would be putting herself in that situation, let alone taking the children with her.

This is something that had simply never occured to me. I just get up and do stuff without thinking much – the very definition of privilege – and also perhaps the reason why women often outlive men!

When travelling in South Africa, we hired a car and did a lot of self-driving in between major cities, to different national parks. As a solo woman traveller, Netra mentioned she probably would not have done that before we got together. Again it highlighted to me, the differences in how we perceived opportunities and threats and how gender-based this was.

In any case, I wanted to acknowledge the massive contributions women have made in the birding and nature photography world. Many of whom have been silenced by louder voices in the field, who have taken to speaking less about their passion, or some who have simply withdrawn their work from public view and commentary. Please keep doing the important work of showcasing our wildlife – it is one of the important ways we can all support conservation efforts here in Australia and around the world.

To finish, I’m sharing one of my favourite photos Netra took while we were in South Africa.


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