Are women changing photography? - Tbilisi Photo Festival 2015 supported by UN Women


Round table discussion with women photojournalists
Photo: Tbilisi Photo Festival 2015
'Are women changing photography?' - the title of an exhibition showcasing six famous female photojournalists and subsequent roundtable discussion, organized as part of the Tbilisi Photo Festival 2015 and supported by UN Women.   

The gender balance in photojournalism has changed radically in recent years. Female photojournalists in the South Caucasus are the ones who have raised their voices to protect the rights of the most vulnerable groups in society. Through their work they have 'spoken out' about numerous social problems in the region. But what are the defining characteristics that a woman brings to this profession? This was the topic for the above roundtable discussion.

The event hosted female photojournalists from Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia: Newsha Tavakolian (Magnum Photos), Justyna Mielnikiewicz (Getty Reportage), Rena Effendi, Anka Gujabidze, Nazik Armenakyan (4 Plus), Anahit Hayrapetyan (4 Plus) and the event was moderated by Natalia Antelava (co-founder of CodaStory).

The artists shared their experiences, recalling how they 'infiltrated' an area of art that had traditionally been male-dominated and elaborating on their personal journeys towards public recognition; working frequently on controversial themes and challenging gender stereotypes.

Mother of three, Armenian photographer Anahit Hayrapetyan, wrote in her book Princess to Slave:

'I heard a number of stories about family restrictions and violence against women when I was  a child. There was a girl in the neighborhood whose father had killed her mother, but we did not ask a question about it. As I grew, the number of stories of control and violence grew as well…I gathered the courage and started to work on Princess to Slave….I hope that the stories will bring some change to our society”. Photos from her book were displayed at the Festival.

UN Women's support for the event is part of a long-term campaign to promote zero-tolerance of violence against women and girls and domestic violence.