This week’s Questions with an Educator features Beth Green.
Beth is a New York-based, fine arts photographer, who was one of the first women to cross the threshold into shooting sports photography. She has been an advocate for female photojournalists throughout her career, and she has seen the differentiation between male and female photographers fade. She also spent time as a photo editor for Newsweek before opening Beth Green Studios in 1989. Here, she details how her career led her to being a women’s advocate in the photojournalism field, how teaching has impacted her career as whole, and her thoughts about the future of the photography industry.
We asked: When first starting your career, did you envision yourself being the women’s advocate in the photojournalism field that you are today? How did you get to this point?
Beth said: No. When I started working for the wire services in Philadelphia, I was just another person with a camera who the head of the UPI office needed to cover one of four sporting events that night and he was short on staff. Never having shot sports before, I happened to be in the right place at the right time. He gave me quick advice on how to shoot sports (“Get two opposing players with the object of their aggression”) and I was off and running. At the time, it did not occur to me that I was one of the only female photojournalists shooting sports, but in 1976, when the women sportswriters sued for access to men’s professional locker rooms, the issue came to the forefront and I found myself in the Flyers’ locker room photographing naked hockey players!
1976, being the Bicentennial Year, was a very big deal in Philadelphia, and the Pope, the Queen of England and dignitaries from all over the world came to town, along with a Presidential campaign, and I found myself standing next to photographers like Alfred Einenstaedt. As a wire services photographer, my news photos were seen all over the world.
We asked: What has teaching at Rutgers, Fordham, and the New York Institute of Photography done for your career as a whole? Why did you decide to start teaching?
Beth said: It has helped me to solidify my analysis of what goes into making a good picture. I love helping others to learn how to capture the world around them. I love teaching almost as much as I love taking pictures.
We asked: Your work is currently being featured in Women in the Heights. How do you go about obtaining opportunities like this?
Beth said: This opportunity was brought to me by a photo representative who I have worked with for many years and who thought that I would fit well in the show.
We asked: What is your number one recommendation for young photographers these days? Why?
Beth said: Shoot, shoot, shoot! The more you shoot, the more you will learn about how to develop a picture that has an impact on the viewer, and about what kind of impact you want to convey.
We asked: Where do you see the photography industry in 10 years? Specifically, women in the industry?
Beth said: Professional still photography is becoming more and more challenging with the ubiquity of quality cellphone cameras and the increased sophistication of amateur photographers. On the plus side, I do not see the differentiation between male and female photographers that existed when I started out.
Find more of Beth’s work on her website.