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Top female photographers push for equality

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A group of Australia's top female photographers have come together in a push for equality in their male-dominated industry, and to help the next generation of female photographers.

Cybele Malinowski, a Sydney-based photographer, brought together a group of female photographers to create the collective, Agender, and showcase their work in an exhibition launched on International Women's Day.

Male photographers constantly get work over female photographers, especially in high-paid areas such as advertising, despite there being just as many women working in the industry, according to Malinowski.

"And if you look at the amount of aspiring fashion photographers, the vast majority of them are women and yet if you look at the ones actually shooting and earning money in fashion, they're still male dominated," Malinowski told AAP.

Photographer Michele Aboud, a director of Agender, was one of the only female photographers working in Sydney when she started out 30 years ago.

Over the last three decades, she's successfully pursued a career in what she loves yet still faces everyday sexism when she's working.

"We can be on set and people won't recognise us as the photographer. Every female photographer has most likely experienced this, you can be there and someone will say 'oh who's shooting today'? I've been asked just recently 'are you the stylist'?" Aboud said.

"Often when I arrive they think I'm the hair and make-up artist," Malinowski added.

The Agender exhibition, will run in Sydney's CBD for a month and features work from some of Australia's most talented female photographers including Malinowski, Aboud, Anna Pogossova, Cara O'Dowd, Carlotta Moyes, Danielle Harte, Juliet Taylor, Liz Ham, and Petrina Tinsley.

Malinowski hopes it will be instructive and helpful to the next generation of female photographers.

"I've been in this industry for 13 years and I haven't seen much change at all. I've seen the trajectory of people even younger than me and I've seen what the path is for a man and what the path is for woman and I guess my issue is that it's been a lot harder for the women that I've watched compared to the men," Malinowski said.

'We all had to take lateral ways to get there and what we're trying to do with Agender is actually look at those lateral ways and work our ways to navigate through this so the next generation of women can make it. I guess we're trying to lay it out for them and show them how to do it."

* Agender runs until April 4 at the Hyatt Regency in Sydney's CBD.

Australian Associated Press

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