Creative in association withGear Seven

'Women's Work' Exhibition Feels the Female Gaze of Women Photographers

Advertising Agency
Auckland, New Zealand
Saatchi & Saatchi launched the campaign this International Women's Day celebrating 21 female photographers

Saatchi & Saatchi has created a campaign and full brand identity to support ‘Women’s Work’, a unique exhibition celebrating the work of 21 women photographers from the Advertising and Illustrative Photographers’ Association (AIPA) running over four days from 6th March at the Ellen Melville Centre in Auckland.

Coinciding with International Women’s Day, Women’s Work is an opportunity to explore the female gaze as an alternative to the ubiquitous male perspectives that tend to dominate commercial and advertising photography. While women make up the majority of photography students in NZ universities (up to 70-80% in some courses), the number of women commercial photographers represented by photo agents is much lower, closer to 20%.

The campaign is running across outdoor, social and in interactive screens throughout the Ellen Melville Centre. The images were shot by photographer, exhibition initiator and AIPA vice president Victoria Baldwin. Motion for the campaign was directed by Vicki Leopold, with Fergus Cahill as DOP. Saatchi & Saatchi creative technologist Celine Giovanni, has also created an interactive installation for the exhibition that utilizes heat mapping motion detection to trigger the photographers’ moving portrait, breaking her stare and raising her camera at unsuspecting passers-by.

Kristal Knight, Saatchi & Saatchi creative director and one of the exhibition’s curators said: “The campaign we created for Women’s Work draws the audience’s attention to the fact that most of what they see of the world is in fact the white male view. We want to disrupt this unconsciously accepted norm and offer people the opportunity to experience the world through a different lens: the female gaze.”

“This concept also twists the convention of featuring the work in exhibition collateral, instead turning the camera back on the women behind the work. As viewers, we become the subject matter these photographers are looking at, and we get a taste first-hand of how it feels to be viewed through female eyes. We wanted to create strong, empowering images that celebrate the human beings behind the work, and the women who are an important part of the industry.”

“It has been such an amazing experience working with all the incredible Women behind the exhibition and the lens, and reminded me as a creative director of the responsibility we have to ensure that all perspectives are being represented in the work we create.”  

Manja Wachsmuth, photographer and one of the exhibition’s co-organisers added: “Even in the early stages of the planning of Women’s Work, we were very aware of the kind of impact we wanted this exhibition to have. To go beyond our own photographic skills and vision. We wanted to create something lasting for the women in our industry, as well as touch the public and the advertising industry. I approached Saatchi & Saatchi after noticing Isobel Kerr-Newell online and all the attention around her work with breaking down barriers for mothers working in the ad-industry. Instantly it felt like a good fit and the collaboration has gone completely above and beyond our initial expectations. The campaign that the team at S&S has created for us, has been mind-blowing. It’s been an incredible experience and a great learning opportunity for all of us. Especially being on the other side of the table, seeing how the agency presents ideas to a client and the flexibility in media outputs. How the campaign will impact in the long term is yet to be seen, but it is fair to say that we are incredibly happy with the result and the opportunities it has created.”

Saatchi & Saatchi’s head of PR and social, Isobel Kerr-Newell will participate in a panel discussion this Sunday, bringing together artists and industry professionals to discuss issues around the gender imbalance in the photographic industries that also includes photographer Sara Orme, Geraldine Turney of Match Photographers, and Dr Kaisa Wilson of Gender Tick.

The ambition is for the exhibition to become an annual event, showcasing the work of the industry’s top female photographers.

Media placements were secured with the support of OMD, VMO, Lumo, JC Decaux and Starcom.

Agency / Creative
Post Production / VFX
Work from Saatchi & Saatchi New Zealand