Thursday, 13 December 2012

Darwin's Natural Selection in Action?

Something is bothering me...  

A new magazine has been started by a couple of Newport undergraduates.  They have produced the first issue and are now working on the second.  They are open to submissions, although (according to one of the editors) have not pursued anyone to ask them to get involved for the 2nd issue.  They have received work from the UK, Europe and even from the USA, but interestingly, for issue 2, all of those who have been in touch are of the same gender.  They are men.

Why is this?  Could it be due to the nature of the submission process?  I don’t think so.  Even though both editors are men, they have female friends within their wide social networks.  They are surrounded by girls at university.  There are girls and women on their own photography courses.  Also, the publication was launched at the recent 100 Years of Newport festivities, where, seemingly many working professionals expressed an interest, and some have even offered themselves up as potential contributors in the future.  Based on these facts, there doesn’t seem a glaringly obvious reason why there has been no interest from women.

Could it be to do with the title?  ‘Darwin’ and its associations with a bearded Victorian scientist who revolutionised our understanding of the world with his research and writings?  I doubt it - after all, girls do science too...

The two guys running the show just raise their eyebrows when I start to bang my little feminist drum (in fact, I get the impression that they -and a few others - think I am more than a bit ridiculous when it comes to my gender-centric obsession) but seriously, there is a real problem here that their ‘It’s not about gender, it’s about photography’ doesn’t even begin to sort out.  

I’d really like to know why the girls/women out there are not flooding the Darwin inbox with work...  If anyone has any theories, please do get in touch, and if you have any work that you are proud of - then send it to Darwin, and let’s hope that some of it gets into issue 3.

You can send work to Darwin at:

Check out their blog:


  1. I find the name troubling. It brings up ideas like survival of the fittest, competition. I don't feel those things should be associated with a magazine on photography. But I don't think it's because I'm a woman that I feel this way.

    1. Thanks for taking the time to comment. I can understand where you are coming from with regards to the name, but actually I like it. Even with those associations, it also suggest the start of something new and exciting. An opportunity to challenge the way people think about photography. Photography is a competition, isn't it. Competition is everywhere - to get your work seen, into magazines, onto gallery walls, to get those commissions. So, maybe the name, Darwin is a clever reflection of all of these things and more.

      Best wishes,


  2. It's a difficult issue. When I was involved in Le Pub, we tried not to influence who was presenting, just going off whoever got in touch. I think it's well intentioned to work that way but often you end up with a bunch of men and it looks bad, it can unintentionally perpetuate gender bias. So maybe there does need to be some degree of intervention.

    I find it strange that there aren't more women submitting, since there's not more men than women studying photography here, in fact it seems like a 50/50 split.

    1. Michael, thanks so much for taking the time to comment.

      You are absolutely right about the unintentional perpetuation of the gender bias. But, what is to be done? I wonder if there are issues of confidence at play (and not just for the girls, but also for the vast majority of students, male and female, who will never show their work at le pub, or put themselves forward.

      As far as submission to the magazine goes, I understand that the editors are really keen that it does not become a Newport-centric publication. So the 50/50 split of undergraduates doesn't really matter. The first edition was weighted this way, but I gather that the next ones will be different. They are quite ambitious for the project and I hope that the magazine goes from strength to strength.

      Thanks again,