When compared with other jobs in the film industry, the number of women working in the field of cinematography globally has always been, and sadly, remains very low. This has been due primarily to the fact that cinematography is a highly technical field, defined by heavy equipment and is physically demanding. Women therefore struggle to break into, and to rise in the industry because they are considered incapable of withstanding the rigours.
The statistics are clearly disheartening, yet women have been working tirelessly behind the camera since the earliest days of movies. Women like Laura Bayley, Margery Ordway, and Dorothy Dunn, to name a few, have silently during the last century worked as camera operators. It is worthy to note however, that their efforts are beginning to pay-off.
Only last year, Rachel Morrison made history by becoming the first woman to be nominated for the Oscar Award for best cinematography, for her work on Dee Rees’ 2017 movie ‘Mudbound’. She also worked expansively on the multiple award-winning ‘Black Panther.’
It is ‘International Women’s Day’, and perhaps a good time to call on women internationally to arise and replace “where are the women?” with “she shot that”; a good time to recognize and demand more gender representation in this industry in furtherance of the quest to define our women by their excellence, and not their gender.