Outnumbered: Photographer Creates Portraits of Women in Science

Edward Steichen once said that “a portrait is not made in the camera, but on either side of it.” Clare Fieseler, a doctoral student in the Curriculum for the Environment and Ecology program at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill who has previously worked for National Geographic, is living this quote by using her experience on either side of the camera as a photographer and a scientist. She has embarked on a project called “Outnumbered” for National Geographic, which focuses on women in science:

Fieseler explains that her idea for the project came from working with young women in high schools and confronting gender bias around how women in the sciences are perceived and portrayed. She wanted to focus on breaking the stock photography mold of a woman holding a beaker and emphasize that women in the sciences can be interesting, successful, and powerful–and that their roles are not limited to the lab. Her subjects include a tattooed downhill mountain biking environmental ecologist, a lead biologist who routinely treks into the backcountry by foot or by boat, and a young girl who is fascinated by nature and has a pet snake.

Clare Fieseler in the field with Jean Richter, lead biologist at Roanoke River National Wildlife Refuge.

Clare Fieseler in the field with Jean Richter, lead biologist at Roanoke River National Wildlife Refuge.

female scientist portrait

Fieseler aims to take photos of women “getting their hands dirty.”

female scientist photo project

Women in science aren’t always working in a lab.

“We can generate confidence through images.”

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