As live sports begin to make a comeback, we want to take this opportunity to talk about representation, and to highlight some incredible women in sports photography. These women are creating stunning images and leading the way for other aspiring photographers in the field (and on the field).
We asked four PhotoShelter members in sports photography to share their thoughts on representation in the industry, the future of women in sports photography and those who inspire them. Read through their answers below and check out their incredible portfolios.
This is just the start of a conversation – and we want to hear from you. Who are the women sports photographers who inspire you? Let us know who else deserves a shout-out. Tweet at us @photoshelter or share a shout-out in the comments below!
Cover image by Jennifer Stewart.
It’s really empowering to see more and more female sports photographers being represented in what has traditionally been considered a male-dominated industry. Every time the work of a talented photographer is applauded and recognized, we break down the barriers, paving the way for future aspiring photographers. I’d love to see that momentum continue so that the space female photographers hold in the sports industry becomes the norm rather than the exception.
Shout-out to all the women who inspire me and countless others every day!
Meg Williams – @megwilliams.co
Michelle Minahen – @minahen.jpg
Emily Johnson – @em.johnson
Carmen Mandato – @carmenmandato
Karen Warren – @karen_warren_801
Janaye Johnson – @janayejohnson
Abbie Parr – @abbsparr
Kelsey Grant – @kelcgrant
Jean Fruth – @jeanfruthimages
Jill Weisleder – @jill.weisleder
Elsa Garrison – @elsagarrison
As an aspiring photographer breaking into the sports world, I’d be lying if I didn’t say it was uncomfortable trying to navigate the sports industry as a young female in 2009. While there were women in the industry, we were few and far between. My mentor was adamant about how I represented myself. He encouraged me to keep my head down, work twice as hard and let my photos speak for themselves.
Nothing makes me happier than connecting with young women as they begin their journey in the sports photography world. I think it’s important that we as women have open conversations about the struggles we face and how we can overcome them together. It’s even more important to me that we are ultimately there to empower and build each other up in a world of constant criticism and self doubt.
Check out Jennifer’s shout-outs:
Carmen Mandato @carmenmandato
Taylor Baucom @taylorbaucom
Kelly Gavin @kellyspics3
Abbie Parr @abbsparr
I love seeing more and more focus on showcasing all the women in sports photography. When I photographed my first professional sports game in my career, I walked into the photo work area and was the only female in the room. I felt so out of place and asked myself for a moment, “what am I doing here?” I hope for the future that we can inspire more females to become involved with sports so when we walk into photo rooms for the first time we don’t have to feel out of place. I am so thankful for all the strong females I’ve met over the years that have helped pave the way for other females to come!
Some of my favorite female sports photographers helping pave the way for us and other women:
Ariele Goldman – @arielephotography
Barrie Schneiderman – @barrieelizabeth
Chloe Knott – @chloeknott_photography
Elsa Garrison – @elsagarrison
Elaine Thompson – @bookerthompson
Emilee Chinn – @emileechinnphoto
Jane Gershovich – @Janegphoto
Jean Fruth – @jeanfruthimages
Jennifer Stewart – @thisphotogirl
Jenny Nicholson – @jennerb12
Katelyn Mulcahy – @krmcamera
Kathryn Riley – @k_h_r
Lindsey Wasson – @lindseywasson
Maddie Meyer – @maddiemeyer2
NyeinSu Wai KyawSoe – @nyeinsu_wai_kyawsoe
Sarah Sachs – @sarahsachsphoto
Sarah Stier – @stieriously
I first picked up a camera seriously in 1998, and retrospectively I realize that I hardly ever ran into any female photojournalists and definitely not any female sports photographers. My teachers and mentors were all men with the exception of a brilliant female photojournalist at my hometown newspaper. What I saw was the photographs that inspired me, and not the gender of the person who created it.
In college, my photojournalism program was heavily male with only a handful of female students. Every photographer I learned from and worked for was male, but that didn’t seem to matter since I was incredibly lucky to have some phenomenal, encouraging and life-shaping teachers both inside and outside of the classroom. Back then I don’t think I noticed the lack of women around. I just saw the art and the artist or the story and the subject and appreciated the frame like I always had. I spent every second of the years I was in Gainesville at UF covering sports starting with eight semesters at the school paper, then later on for Gator Country, The Gainesville Sun and the UAA.
When I started to work professionally outside of my years in college, I was surrounded by countless incredible talents like Chip Litherland @lockland_co / @chiplitherland that pushed me to be better with every assignment. He is the one who taught me to take every assignment and shoot it how you’re asked by the editor then try again and shoot from laying belly to the grass, as high as I could get, super-wide and sometimes uncomfortably tight. He edited one of my earliest professional portfolios over several hours at Starbucks and actually taught me how to use PhotoShelter – a tool that would completely streamline how I worked, build my first website, store my content and deliver that content to clients. Without people like Chip, I wouldn’t have grown into the person and journalist I am today. It didn’t matter that he was a male. He was and is just good people.
Seventeen years after embarking into this career, I’ve begun to see a surge of women coming into the industry, especially in the last four years. Each passing year, I have more female colleagues working for wire services, newspapers and rocking the freelance game. Now we’ve got organizations like Women in Sports Photography that are highlighting the incredible work of my female comrades and giving us a way to connect with each other as well as blog posts like this one that brings attention to women in sports photojournalism.
I hope we get to the point to have equal representation of both male and female sports photojournalists while maintaining the high level of talent that is currently in the field. I hope more women choose this field for their profession. I hope we can all simply see the moments and appreciate the frames without caring what gender the photographer is who created it. We are all artists and documentarians and as more time passes, it seems like gender matters less and less.
Women in sports photography who inspire me:
Carmen Mandato @carmenmandato – Carmen’s work is pure art, far from plain and simple. She sees things outside of the box then paints them with her own colors to bring them to life. Her body of work is incredibly inspiring.
Tori Richman @toririchman_photography – Tori joined the Bucs a few years ago as an intern and joined the team last year as a staff photographer. She’s one of the best up-and-coming sports photojournalists and an incredible talent.
Kelly Gavin @kellyspics3 – Is a phenomenal baseball photographer that can rock a killer portrait and jaw-dropping action.