The Not-So-Sweet Smell of Photojournalism Success

Kitra Cahana tells NYT colleague Ruth Fremson that it's "hard to shine a positive light" on the profession.

New York Times staff photographer Ruth Fremson started covering war conflicts 20 years ago. On the occasion of this anniversary, she has checked in with some fellow female photojournalists to gauge the state of the profession in general and their experiences in particular.

Fremson spoke with AP sports photographer Kathy Willens, former Time staffer Diana Walker, AP photo editor Mike Feldman, freelancer Nicole Tung and National Geographic contributing photographer Kitra Cahana. Cahana, born in Miami and raised in Canada, did the Thomas Morgan internship at the Times and has won numerous awards and grants. But she reminds that it’s not just print journalists these days who are dealing with trying professional circumstances:

“I’m not making more than the poverty threshold, even with all these accolades and connections in the industry,” she said. “I think my successes are blown out of proportion. There are big challenges facing anyone who is a photojournalist these days, so it is hard to shine a positive light. Maybe they are pointing to young female photographers as a way to say that, but I’m not sure it’s really fully there.”

Cahana has given several TED talks. Willens meanwhile has some colorful recollections of sexism in the profession, from the Miami locker room to the press gallery of the United Nations. Read the rest of Fremson’s piece here.