This story appeared in the 2016 photo issue of VICE magazine.There's no such thing as an impatient photographer. Photography requires more than DMV-style endurance. It's brutal, physical work: stiff knees, bruised shins, and tendonitis come before the perfect shot, and only after that comes—hopefully—success.I note all this because this year's photo issue doesn't have an overarching theme—at least we didn't have one in mind when arranging it. But now that it's done, and I take a step back, it strikes me as a celebration of the patient eye. The eye that finds the just-so mise-en-scène that discovers a moment of grace between people in horrible circumstances. The eye that tells a new truth.
It also happens that, this year, all those eyes belong to women.Before that fact gets turned into "Sisters Are Doin' It for Themselves" clickbait, I'll explain how we got here. Women have been fundamental to the art of photography since, well, there were photographs. They've been schlepping equipment, huffing darkroom fumes, and sharp-elbowing for scarce gallery space since before they could vote, become astronauts, or run marathons without people thinking their uteruses would fall out (doctors actually used to think this would happen, "thus defeating a woman's true purpose in life").In other words, their way of seeing the world isn't new—we're just new to seeing the world through their eyes. So if patience is a photographer's virtue, then the particular patience of the female photographer—long neglected but represented ably by those featured in this issue—is a story worth telling in full.In these pages, you'll find work by 38 photographers, including veterans and relative rookies. Now 21*, Izumi Miyazaki continues her wry exploration of stereotypes, building on the notoriety she received when she launched her career at age 15. Endia Beal uses her project "Am I What You're Looking For?" to capture college-age minority women cautiously bridging the gap between their identities and society's expectations. The prolific and award-winning Jill Freedman, who said she "always liked playing with boys," shows us why she still likes them, adding to her five-decade-long photography career in New York.The contributors to this issue prove that patience in photography is about more than sitting still. It's a state of heightened awareness, of careful assessment, of sorting through the irrelevant to find the sublime. And in an era where people often measure content by volume rather than quality, we like to think that this issue proves that good things still come to those who wait. —Elizabeth Renstrom, VICE Photo Editor*Correction 8/16: An earlier version of this article said 18.*