A single photograph can make a statement, but artistic, black and white photographs of women speak volumes about female empowerment and perseverance.
“I love portraits and the emotion they convey. Seeing a portrait in print is mesmerizing,” Janet Taub, owner of Planet Photo in New Milford, said. Her photography exhibit, The Faces of Female Entrepreneurs, features striking photographs of 35 New Milford business women, including herself.
“I wanted to show them how I see them — powerful, brave and determined to succeed,” said Taub. The exhibit, displayed at Makery Coworking at 20 Bank Street in New Milford, runs through the end of April.
Taub’s objective was to capture each woman’s beauty and strength along with their courage to pursue their dreams. “I don’t think it’s easy to start your own business and it takes a certain determined personality to do it,” she explains. “I love photography, but I was nervous about starting a business. Would I be successful? Was I good enough? Every woman I photographed had some of those same feelings at some point or other and that’s very reassuring.”
Dr. Amanda Placeres, owner of Placeres Naturopathic and Acupuncture, feels honored to be one of the portraits. “It’s amazing in our small town of New Milford we have a large number of woman-owned businesses. An event like this is highlighting what has yet to be recognized — the ‘uprising’ of female entrepreneurship not only here in New Milford, but in many towns across our nation,” said Placeres. “Janet, with her expertise and eye with her camera, allowed me to relax and expose the feminine side of this business owner.”
The exhibit was inspired by a portrait conference Taub attended last year.
“A photographer introduced the members of her team in large, powerful, printed portraits that completely captivated the audience,” recounts Taub. “I had been aware of some of the female entrepreneurs in my town but once I started the project I was amazed to see just how many there were. The downtown area of New Milford has changed considerably over the last ten years. Female business owners have played a large part in that growth.”
While the portraits reflect each woman’s spirit, their stories are just as remarkable. “They represent my community,” Taub says. “My last portraits were of two local women who started Literacy Volunteers on the Green in 2005. In the beginning they held ESL classes on a park bench on the New Milford green. Today they have a team of mostly female volunteers teaching literacy skills to local residents.”
Sarah Lopes, owner of The Safari Collective, is excited to share her story. “Our downtown is filled with so many outstanding businesses, and it’s truly inspiring to see so many have been started by women. When women support other women, we literally can change the world. History has proven this,” says Lopes. Taub agrees the positive response she’s received is fueled by the #MeToo movement.
Taub hopes the exhibit also serves as a networking tool.
“I’ve already seen many of the ladies talking about collaborations and ways to work together on special projects, and I’m hopeful that will continue. It’s incredible to be part of such a supportive business community. We lift each other up both from a business perspective and a personal level.”
With her exhibit, Taub hopes to inspire and encourage more women to accept the challenge. “Female business owners come in all shapes, sizes, ages and backgrounds, but they all have that same look of determination and power in their eyes.”