Why Microsoft’s CTO Is Photographing the Diverse People Who Build Your Tech
In July of last year, Kevin Scott decided to take a month off to relax, since he’d been going non-stop “for the past 10 years.” But as it turns out, Scott’s not so great at doing nothing.
So rather than use that time to catch up on his Netflix queue, he decided to launch a project that he’d been mulling for years: a series of portraits of women—and eventually, a few men—in technology. The aim, says Scott, who was named Microsoft CTO in January of this year, was to give the world a look at the diverse group of people behind the technology we use every day.
“When kids are imagining what they’re going to be, they look around at what adults are doing and try to imagine themselves doing that thing,” he says. While in his daughter’s case, that meant “pop star, ice cream truck driver, or computer scientist,” Scott realized that not all kids have a tech industry role model. What’s more, he felt that the technologists who do tend to be shown in photographs and pop culture are often “billionaire entrepreneur founders”—that’s “not really representative,” he says.
A longtime hobbyist photographer, Scott started shooting some of the women that he’d worked with over the course of the his career; his first subjects were a group of women from LinkedIn, where he was then serving as SVP of Engineering and Operations. To cast the net even wider, he set up a photo both at the Grace Hopper Celebration, the annual women and computing conference put on by the Anita Borg Institute (he’s on the organization’s board). Scott says he frequently talks to his subjects about their work while he’s shooting, creating portraits that reflect the passion they have for their careers.
He’s already posted 20 some portraits on his website, Behind the Tech, and plans to add more. To see some of the photos from the project, check out the photo gallery above.