Democracy Dies in Darkness

In Sight | Perspective

#girlgaze: How girls see the world

By Annaliese Nurnberg

October 4, 2017 at 11:58 AM

Exquisite Eye capturing Jamillah McWhorter (Bree Holt/@exquisite_eye/)
Ms. Brazil (Luisa Dorr/@luisadorr/)

When Amanda de Cadenet started the #girlgaze project almost two years ago, she could not have imagined just how expansive the project would become. After reading a New York Times Magazine article addressing the disproportionate number of men to women working as film directors, she was happy to see an issue she cared about finally gain wider attention. But, she wanted to shift the conversation to focus it on photographers.

“The majority of images that we see on magazine covers, marketing campaigns, editorial that depict us are taken by men. And this is no balance,” de Cadenet said. “And I thought, why is no one doing anything about this or saying anything about this?”

De Cadenet created @girlgazeproject on Instagram as a way to create awareness of the imbalance. Female-identifying photographers could submit work with the hashtag “#girlgaze.” They would gain exposure and get a chance to shoot an editorial for Teen Vogue.

“It was kind of a call to action with a job opportunity at the end of it,” de Cadanet said. “But what we didn’t realize was that we were going to have over a million submissions of images.” That was after only six months. Today, #girlgaze has had over 2.8 million submissions.

De Cadenet was so moved by the response she was able to offer enough opportunities to photographers to shoot enough editorials to fill the entire 2016 September issue of Teen Vogue. The photography from #girlgaze was featured in an exhibition and led to paying jobs to women with brands like Gap, Warby Parker and Shinola.

Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist Lynsey Addario, director, photographer and visual artist Sam Taylor-Johnson, and fashion photographer and one half of Inez and Vinoodh Inez van Lamsweerde worked with de Cadenet to curate the recently published book “#girlgaze: How Girls See The World.”

The book showcases work from women around the globe. Filled with photos by mostly Generation Z women, de Cadenet sees the book as a reflection of how girls see the world in 2017. The photography touches on themes like body image, mental health, race and gender, providing a beautiful representation of the female gaze from many different backgrounds.

In addition to the new book, another #girlgaze exhibition, “UNCENSORED,” opened Friday in Los Angeles. The exhibition includes imagery that some may consider provocative, the photos show themes involving sexuality, nudity and menstrual cycles. The photos can be seen at the Subliminal Projects space through Oct. 28.

Women can continue to submit their photography to the project by using the hashtag #girlgaze on Instagram.

New Romantics (Francesca Milano / @francimila/)
Detox (Sinai Centre) from the series Women in Recovery (Petra Droogsma/@petradroogsma/)
Twilight Twins (Emma Craft/@emmacraft/)
Lolita (Hailun Ma/@hailunma/)
Skate Girl #12 (May 2014, Kabul)
Goodbye My Chechnya (Diana Markosian/@markosian/)
Goodbye My Chechnya (Diana Markosian/@markosian 2/)

More In Sight: 

10 faceless portraits of women

Tyler becomes Taylor: A transgender Coast Guard officer in transition

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About In Sight

In Sight is The Washington Post photography blog for visual narrative. This platform showcases compelling and diverse imagery from staff and freelance photographers, news agencies and archives. If you are interested in submitting a story to In Sight, please complete this form.

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