Nielsen and PDN are getting hammered over their new PIX magazine, which is aimed at women photographers. What's the fuss about? More and more women are photographers so it makes sense to have a magazine for them. Or does it? Imagine if there was a new photo mag for men with articles like: “Curbing BO when shooting outdoor sports”, or “Avoiding STDs when having sex with random people all over the world” or, “How to not dress like you’re on safari” or “101 international scarves to accessorize your globe trotting look”. A magazine that gave space to stuff that -- in the grand scheme of things -- doesn't really matter and is based mostly on gender-based stereotypes. Would guys embrace it with open arms? Or would they make fun of it?
Well, instead of raining on Nielsen’s parade even more, let’s make this constructive.
I’d like to offer some story ideas for them. Hopefully they are already working on some of these, as none of them are really revolutionary.
- How to handle the dangers that women face when shooting in countries that are hostile to women and women’s rights.
- Maintaining a successful business while raising a family. Women still carry most of the responsibility of child care, and as freelancers, this can seriously impact a female photographer’s ability to work. How can you schedule child care when you aren’t sure which days you will be working? How do successful female entrepreneurs handle this?
- Thoughtful editorials on why there are not as many women photographers as there are men, and what can be done to change that.
- In-depth profiles on famous and not so well-known female photographers throughout history.
All that said, wouldn’t all of these stories be great to see in a regular issue of Photo District News? (In fact, the most recent issue of PDN does include a story on work life balance!) Which begs the question, “Why even have a separate magazine for women photographers?” I would love to see the market research and business plan that went into this launch. Obviously they crunched the numbers and saw a business opportunity. But who exactly is the target audience?
Perhaps they are building this magazine for a totally different audience than is attracted to PDN. Maybe they are going strictly after the amateur and prosumer, people who just aren’t that interested in the same issues that pros face. Surely there is a huge market there.
Regardless of the target audience, I do think Nielsen has an opportunity to write about real issues of importance facing female photographers, and I hope they make the most of it.