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A Wall of Women by Women

Unexposed Collective

A Wall of Women by Women includes over 100 images made by international female street photographers.

The male gaze has dominated art and photography throughout history, including in street photography. When that gaze has noticed women at all, it has usually just sexualised us; where it ignores us it has, at best, diminished us and relegated us to minor roles at the edge of the metaphorical frame.

In recent years, female street photographers have risen. This is due in part to the explosion of social media as a more accessible and democratic showcase for photography, and the consequential formation of all-women groups like Unexposed, @womeninstreet and Women Street Photographers. Female street photographers have grown in confidence and are now making waves and gaining ground in the street photography scene.

Like men, female street photographers make photos of women. However, in contrast to men, women are more easily able to do so, and to make photographs of children, and their presence on the street tends to be read by other women as less intimidating and intrusive. So the question is worth asking: do candid street photos made by women differ to those made by men? Does our gaze differ significantly from the male gaze? Is it less harsh? Do we also sexualise and diminish women, either intentionally or unintentionally? Or is our gaze more complex, respectful, tender and aesthetically beautiful? Or does the female gaze move beyond this arguably predictable description? And can it help redefine and reshape how society sees women?

As well as being a celebration of women’s growing confidence and contribution to the street photography genre, A Wall of Women by Women is – in part – a response to those questions.

About the Unexposed Collective:
The Unexposed Collective was created in 2018 by Australian based photographers Julia Coddington and Rebecca Wiltshire, in response to the domination of the male voice in street photography. Featuring female, non-binary and intersex photographers, Unexposed is a kind of anti-collective. It is non-elitist and non-hierarchical. It reflects the founders concerns that as street photography grows in popularity, women are not left behind, either as a consequence of casual or institutional sexism, or as a consequence of our own fears about putting our work and ourselves forward.

When the collective was started it featured the work of Australian female, non-binary and intersex street photographers. In 2020 it was opened up to the international community. Two regional branches were also created – Unexposed Australasia and Unexposed South Asia. The branches provide a unique opportunity for photographers to connect at the local (and cultural) level.

Since 2019 Unexposed has exhibited member’s work in Exposed, at Head On 2019, Double Trouble at Head On in 2020 and Double Exposed at the India Photo Festival in 2020 and Head On in 2021.



Main Image: Untitled by Kirsty Greenland

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