beth saravo

Women shut out of iHeartRadio Favorite Tour Photographer category

The music industry owes a lot to its touring photographers, so why are so many of them being left in the dust?

On January 8, iHeartRadio Music Awards revealed this year’s list of nominees and not one woman was nominated in the Favorite Tour Photographer category.

The category was introduced in 2019 where three of the eight nominees were women—Pixie Levinson, Ravie B, and Hélène Pambrun. Pambrun went on to win the award for her work with Harry Styles.

This year, even though three more nominees were added to the category, women were completely shut out. It is notable that several of these photographers were nominated for their work touring with female artists.

In honor of the hardest-working women in the industry, we’d like to celebrate some of our favorite female photographers and not just touring photographers. Women are often less likely to be hired as touring photographers so we want to elevate women in every corner of music photography.

© Catherine Powell

Catherine Powell has been paving her own path since she was a teenager. She started shooting shows at the age of 14 and co-founded NKD Mag at age 17, which went on to boast 100 issues before it was retired in late 2019. These days, Powell tours globally with big names like Kacey Musgraves, Dan + Shay, Maren Morris, and Miranda Lambert.

© Beth Saravo

Honesty and passion saturate Beth Saravo’s every shot. Saravo injects just as much life and impact into action shots as she does into in the quiet, in-between moments. Saravo is the touring photographer for State Champs and has also been known to tour with Against The Current.

© Courtney Coles

Photographers Courtney Coles and Erica Lauren have more to boast about than just stellar, gritty photos and some impressive resumes. They are also the founders of To The Front, a traveling photo showcase dedicated to women and non-binary creatives in the music industry. Money raised from their shows is donated to charities. You can catch them at AntiFest this March.

© Erica Lauren
© Jasmine Safaeian

Born and raised in Tehran, Iran, self-described “severely radiant extreme goth” Jasmine Safaeian lives up to that title. Safaeian has toured with an impressive list of artists, Halsey and Sofi Tukker among them. Her touring work uses these artists as the canvas for light leaks, soft filters, and dizzying color, all trademarks of her work.

Ashley Osborn has definitely photographed your favorite band. With a client list a mile long, Osborn is behind the photos of some of your favorite Warped Tour alums and the biggest pop acts of today. While she really built her name in the alt rock arena, everyone from All Time Low to Selena Gomez has been in front of her lens.

© Amanda Fotes

Amanda Fotes is a photographer most at home in the mosh pit rather than the photo pit. Disposable Shows is an ongoing chronicle of brash, audacious punk shows shot on disposable 35mm film cameras. In the world of polished, color-corrected music photography, her photos bring an authenticity to an industry increasingly obsessed with low-grain and high-gloss.

© Ravie B.

To the outsider, Ravie B. might look like she’s achieved it all. As Beyonce’s touring photographer, it’s hard to imagine a bigger resume booster. But she’s not slowing down. Embracing her roots in the Bronx, Ravie B. is working to inspire a new generation of young black women to join her in the pit. Though 2019 was huge for her, she still has her eyes set on her first solo photo exhibit and landing her first magazine cover.

© Jennifer McCord

London-based Jennifer McCord’s photography is poignant, moody, and emotional. She doesn’t shy away from capturing the raw edges of the artists that land in front of her camera, cutting through the stage lights and circumstance. You might know her as Elie Goulding’s touring photographer, but she also loudly advocated for the female artists that were shut out of iHeartRadio’s Favorite Tour Photographer category this year.

© Lindsey Byrnes

Though her work has been everywhere from magazine covers to billboards, Lindsey Byrneswork is grounded and frank. Her candid photography is a reminder of what makes live music great. 

© Katia Temkin

Shiny and glamorous, Katia Temkin’s every photo has the gleaming allure of a Victoria’s Secret campaign. With a client list that can’t be abridged, Temkin has grown her skillset beyond photography to set herself apart from the crowd.

All of these photographers boast dozens of achievements and accolades between them and we hope to see them and more women like them being recognized for their work.

Header image by Beth Saravo.
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Lauren Zaknoun

Lauren Zaknoun is an artist, photographer, music enthusiast, and founder of BANSHEE ZINE. With no musical talent to speak of, she supports her local scene by going to shows, shooting bands, and loudly reminding everyone that Paramore is the best band in the world.

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