For the record
keeping my ducks-in-a-row

WIPI background info from Photo Artist / President of WIPI Jean Ferro

June 2, 2017 - I've headed up the organization from Spring 2000 through May 2017 and WIPI an established 501.c.3 here in California still exists, the full organization files, printed matter and digital files are now archived in the Women in Photography International Collection at the Beinecke Library at Yale University— change is in the air.

The 3 year WIPI file transition is finalized! What seemed like a completion date of June 2015… stretched and re stretched to spring 2017. It was complicated with so many unknowns regarding files, programs and the website create the presentation CHARTER GALLERIES, check and add to the website documentation became a much larger project then anyone could have anticipated. The decision to make the introduction binder for the Beinecke… then to add in six more libraries was well worth the time, effort and energy to create a substantial stable base as our introduction into the Yale system and their program.

I intended to take on the job of bringing WIPI into the 21st century via the web. Thought it would be a year or two project. So much for my calculations, ended up being 17 years and eventually place the entire organization files into a permanent collection at the Beinecke. At times visually it felt like a Disney amusement park, merry-go-round et al from a roller coaster ride, Disney's small world, lost in the jungle to a brightly lit main street parade!

Each year, each event brought new challenges and opportunities. The final transition years required extreme detail and very long hours, cutting back membership and outreach programs, leaving only the large production of the Charter Gallery and biographical program.

I’ve made some wonderful friends and shared lots of stories and events with a talented group of women photographers and photo professionals. When you look though the website you'll see women at work making great progress in the photographic arts. A few stepped up to help WIPI be successful from behind the scenes handling files to onsite production of displays of members work. Their names can be found within the historical pages of the WIPI website…the doers and shakers in life and work.

There were those that wanted a lot and gave very little and others that rose to support or be supportive with their expertise, talent or financial support. In the beginning and the exploding worldwide web in late 1999 and a huge surge starting with 2000, the beginning of the 21st century, WIPI was the only game in town to provide substantial representation for women photographers online. Many women/men didn't’t know how to work with image sizing and extensions .jpg or Tiff and we were bombarded with files that took many exchanges to handle for competition inclusion. We were not automated, everything was hand coded. Those were the most difficult years of repetition and file handling. I learned to accept that it’s all part of running a non-profit. The “me” generation, I was familiar with the me generation as an early 1970's self-portrait artist, and often herald as a creative inspiration or the opposite , frowned upon for "narcissism".

So many things changed when the cell phone grew from a flip phone to a larger screen w/ camera the two lenses, front and back. The selfie really took hold around 2010-2011 once women photographers found their visual voice on the super highway. They could use the free source of social media that had grown into a more stable outlet to create their clusters of “likes” to feed their creative outlet from simple what I ate today, cute animals... long list of everything to feed their egos and vision.

The membership organizations became less a necessity for many. Instead online education and seminar training as well as workshops and portfolio reviews, etc. Women seemed at first to want the comfort of learning with women, then they wanted to play with the big boys and circulate in the broader marketplace. Often, WIPI was the grounding force where their work was featured and had the history of well established female photographers with careers at the top of the list…very good association for sure! Their tendency was to put their time into themselves and free outreach. All very understandable as many are heads of households as well as the main emotional support for their families, elders, children, husbands and or/boyfriends and friends. They would have to now carve out what precious time they had left to create their images and take them as far as their budget would allow. Seemed that most were interested in competitions, gaining credentials, expanding their audience, large or small.

With the cell phone capability to view, take photos, have clips of info grew, the less people wanted to read in-depth information or instruction. I would send out an email and in the first paragraph would be the most valuable part of the instruction and receive a response email back asking me “exactly” the info that was already there, often in the very first paragraph. By 2014, image life promotion became a headline/image and brief capture of information. HENSE came the decision it was time to regroup and secure the files into a permanent collection. Deadlines were pushed to the limit and then pushed again. Finally all was completed in May /June 2017. I thank everyone for their patience and my sometimes very curt responses .... patience isn't one of my best assets. The Beinecke curator George Miles was so very patient his hands were full too, due to the Beinecke renovation and regrouping to open in mid September 2016.

It now seems perfect timing since the elections and the country is in a tail spin of confusion, displacement, harassment personified by new leadership (although not everyone feels the same). The current numbers of the public and international leaders as of June 2, 2017 are growing with doubt and trust over several issues, especially now with the withdrawal of from the Paris Climate agreement by the newly elected USA president. Plans to cut many outreach programs, calling top news agencies Fake News all the while his facts and figures are revealed as not credible and proof has been shown in black and white, and video footage, and so many more issues from digital fraud, cyber attacks, ... it's time to change our FOCUS, hopefully to the betterment of society. 2017 is a BRAVE NEW WORLD. I hope when we look back on this era, we will arrive at a new plateau of understanding and growth. As a woman I supported Hillary Clinton and found it so wonderful that she met her husband Bill at the the Yale Law Library across from the Beinecke.

Now that WIPI is at the Beinecke Library at Yale University, all is good, I’m much relieved and grateful for all the GOOD things that happened and all the reminders of stress will pass over time, turned around into something positive.

I’ve enjoyed the creativity of the outreach programs, meeting tons of wonderful people. I did cry a bit for each passing event that was publicized about a personality or event when my images were buried in my storage and impossible to stop, find and publish the precious image of my own. I would just say, it's OK..the time will be right.

My brow would rise when I would see "new" gruops startig up... hanging on to our skirt hem, yet not giving WIPI the credit due... as if they never heard of us, yet used our terminology, incorporated our full name into their promotion campaings, used our type style to look like us..the list is long. I even contacted a few over the years and they would stop for a moment... then months later do a competition and incorporate our look and info again... some are not non-profits and more vanity programs. It will be very important for those who have participated with WIPI in exhibitions or Membership make clear they are part of Women In Photography International. Orginally called Women in Photography and moved forward in early 1990's to include International. We are happy that all women have opportunities.

It's now time for me enjoy my personal archive, make books, work with collectors and investors, do exhibitions, new projects... the list is long. Also would like to continue to share my experience through lectures about women's work, my photography experiences and my love of living unintentionally outside of the box, it just seems to be my natural way. Dive in and just do it. ... don't worry, keep your eye on the prize and remember if something is wrong, you can fix it later. Please enjoy WIPI's archive history of incredible women's work, progress and success.


Milestones Binder Content Correspondence
Acknowledgement - Thank You Libraries WIPI History
Charter Member Galleries Site Map Social Media Content


Women In Photography International Archive is held at the Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library at Yale University, Peter Palmquist Western Americana permanent Collection since 2003. The inclusion of WIPI hard copy and digital files from mid-2003 to present will be added to the collection. The 2014-2015 WIPI CHARTER GALLERY is set up for inclusion into the upcoming newly renovated Beinecke Library. The CHARTER MEMBER gallery of dedicated women photographers is a spotlight to introduce and showcase historical documentation and current member work.

Beinecke File thru 2003 - Series IV - Women in Photography International Records Literary and image rights, including copyright, belong to the photographers and authors or their legal heirs and assigns.