After seven years work, 100,000 miles of travel and 100 camera portraits, Wellington photographer Anita Corbin has completed her mammoth First Women project. Anita reflects on what it took to capture the images of those female high-achievers.
‘I was apprehensive at the beginning. The project was hugely out of my comfort zone – despite having spent 35 years travelling all over the world to photograph incredible human interest stories and A-Listers on movie sets – because this was personal,” said Anita.
‘The perpetual question was, ‘how will I capture the unique essence of this woman and what drives her – but at the same time speak to the world about what she has achieved?’ My job was to nurture the shoot environment so that the ‘firsts’ could be themselves as women, as well as embody their achievements.
‘I wanted to offer every single one of the one hundred women the freedom to be shown as she wished to be seen and still fulfil the project’s universal vision.
Many of the women wanted nothing more than the image; no commentary, no interview – and I am humbled that they trusted the image I took to speak for itself about their journey.’
‘Now that the 100 are complete, I’m relieved it was done in time, first of all! Some of the women were easier to gain access to than others and some have been a labour of love since day one!
‘I remember talking back in 2009 about how much I wanted to include Nicola Adams…and recalling that conversation when I was finally standing in a Team GB boxing ring with Adams in front of my lens, 6 years later!
‘Some of the women only had one day available over the space of 8 months, others had about six agents, PR assistants and diary organisers that had to be co-ordinated before we could even get a date in!
‘First Women as a whole certainly gathered its own momentum over 7 years and everything I needed just started showing up so after a while I trusted it was meant to be created.’
The First Women team are currently organising the touring exhibition, opening show and exploring First Women book publication opportunities for 2018. If you are interested in collaborating, sponsoring, hosting or supporting the project please contact Deborah at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss further.