Parliament Square, at the heart of the seat of power in London, provided some of the inspiration for photographer Anita Corbin when she was beginning to create the concept of First Women. The statues in the Square are of British and foreign statesmen and there are no women. Noticing how the Parliamentary Square statues carried so much more weight as they were grouped together, Anita decided to create a Photographic Collection of first women that was greater than the sum of its parts.
The portraits are multi-tiered; they are an exploration of the relationship between the photographer and the sitter as well as the relationship the woman has with the environment or background in which she is photographed. Each has been carefully chosen by Anita and her subject to reflect the field of achievement in which the woman has excelled.
The portraits are powerful in their own right, speaking to the viewer as standalone images with brief captions to allow a more in depth engagement that goes beyond words; but as a Collection First Women will provide an even more compelling and substantial testament to the last 100 years of women’s achievements encompassing a wide mix of age and race, all drawn together by a common theme – these are the First Women in their field.
Anita believes that photography as a visual tool can inspire and change attitudes, and by creating role models young women can be encouraged to aspire to a life in positions and professions like Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths that were previously seen as male dominated.
Anita has been a portrait photographer all her working life and is passionate about creating images of girls and women that make people stop and think. Her passion is fired by years of working as an editorial portrait photographer with the Sunday Times and Observer colour magazines, where she was often sent around the world to cover ‘human interest’ stories involving women.
When on assignment Anita used her intuition and creativity, to shine new light on a person, to give the portrait originality and longevity. As a working photographer she has learned to believe in her own convictions, developing her own style, creating portraits that she believes reveal the ‘true self’ of her subjects. She encourages her subjects to ‘be themselves’ and to trust her to interpret their individuality.
The preparation and planning required beforehand means that editing is a huge responsibility as it is the manifestation of the shoot, with everything going into the split second of the shutter opening! If all has gone well the pictures will speak to you and you will be able to choose the definitive shots easily. It is this strong belief in the power of photography that has lead Anita to create her collection of First Women portraits with the mission statement ‘Inspiring women in the UK’.”