Continued from Female Landscape Photographers – Managing Equipment
While safety is an issue that affects both male and female photographers, it affects female photographers in ways that we men sometimes fail to fully comprehend. Athena Carey says, “I have limitations caused by safety concerns, about harm from people, animals, accidents… but those apply to men too. Those safety concerns are prevalent, but female photographers are also concerned about traveling alone in remote places. According to Christine Hauber: “As a solo RV traveler, I found one of my biggest challenges as a landscape photographer is a sense of feeling safe.”
As a man, I spend very little time thinking about my personal safety – except for keeping an eye out for wild animals, and watching my footing on steep trails. My photographic experience is seldom impacted by concern for my safety. But safety has a profound impact on female landscape photographers. A “fan” once noticed Varina Patel during a workshop in Death Valley National Park, and followed our group into the dunes before daylight. Varina was with a group that morning, and some of our students confronted the man and asked him to move on. However, incidents like this make it nerve-wracking for women to travel unaccompanied.
Sarah Marino commented on how this impacts female photographers. “When I used to travel a lot on my own, my personal safety was always a concern in the back of my mind. Some fears, rational or not, did keep me from doing things on my own, like long hikes in remote areas. At least for me, thinking about personal safety can make it hard to fully focus on landscape photography or explore as much as I might want to when I am on my own.”
So what can a female landscape photographer do to overcome safety challenges? Here are few suggestions from my interview:
- Christine Hauber recommends focusing on finding a safe and legal place to park for the night while it was still light outside if you are travelling alone.
- Sarah Marino says, “With so many people interested in photography, it is becoming easier to meet people with similar interests, and online forums and photo clubs are a great place to start. For those with financial resources, photo workshops are another great way to get out with like-minded people. Creating a community of peers for photo outings and travel is a great way for women to get around concerns about personal safety and have fun, enjoyable experiences in the process.”
To be continued Female Landscape Photographers – Looking for Equal Opportunity