Stories from Set: How a Sexist Comment Derailed a Perfect Photo Shoot

Stories from Set are the stories of photographer Alyssa Meadows and others about the pains of being a woman on the modern photography set. This series is 100% endorsed by the Phoblographer in an effort to convey a critical message.

There is a perpetual dance around the sexism where you’re walking on eggshells while trying to stand up for your rights as an individual. All versions of these situations on a photoshoot are entirely unacceptable and damaging to all parties involved. I would argue that nothing is harder to handle diplomatically than when a sexist experience transpires between your paying clients to one another. As previously accounted in Stories from Set: When Clients Sexualize Each Other During Your Shoot, we witnessed a similar situation develop on another shoot.

Continue reading…

Stories From Set: I’m a Photographer and a Woman. And I Don’t Want Kids

Stories from Set are the stories of photographer Alyssa Meadows and others about the pains of being a woman on the modern photography set. This series is 100% endorsed by the Phoblographer in an effort to convey a critical message.

Working on set can be challenging in a multitude of ways, from demanding clients, high-profile talent, tech, equipment, and doing undesirable or frustrating things. We sometimes forget that navigating what we can discuss on set and how can be just as difficult. Frequently we’re thrown together in a mishmash of producers, other assistants, or photographers we barely know. We’re stuck contending with how to work closely together. We try to collaborate, create conversation, and find ways to connect with each other in the span of a few hours. It can often feel like walking through a minefield, unsure if what you’re saying will land well. If you’ve been in this game long enough, you learn the art of the quick connection, or how to thicken skin and work insulated and unaffected by this social quicksand.

Continue reading…

Stories from Set: When Clients Sexualize Each Other During Your Shoot

“You’re just trying to lift her legs up higher to make her skirt shorter, aren’t you?”

It’s amazing how quickly what seems like a perfectly comfortable, fun environment turns into hostile territory for women. The cause: men making what they think are innocuous comments, like this one. It started off as a typical enough day, with reasonable enough expectations. I needed to help the photographer I was assisting set up for studio portraits. That was one of my two primary responsibilities: the other was keep the clients happy (one of his regulars, a law firm). This was a simple enough task, which ultimately proved to be much more demanding than it should have been. People like to dismiss the importance of microaggressions. These exist in all forms, and for the course of this discussion, we’ll be talking about the ones women face with regularity.

Continue reading…