A World History of Women Photographers

This week's review showcases the work of international women photographers dating back to the 19th century, disrupting stereotypes over what constitutes women's work.

A World History of Women Photographers

ed. by Luce Lebart and Marie Robert; tr. by Ruth Taylor and Bethany Wright Thames & Hudson, 2022
504p bibl index, 9780500025413 $85.00

A World History of Women Photographers book cover.

This long-overdue book covers photographers and work that even experts on the subject will have missed. Including women photographers from 1949 to the present, Lebart and Robert attempt to redress the imbalance of male-dominated photography history. The introduction reviews previous histories of women photographers from various countries and backgrounds. Each page of this book provides a surprise. Especially thrilling are never-before-seen images of war and the workplace, in which photographers Käte Buchler and Olive Edis show women in male professions. Even in the 19th and early 20th centuries, female photographers abounded, working full time for newspapers and science organizations, as architecture photographers, and as portraitists. The book also reveals the professional roles women played in other spheres of society and in a variety of professions reaching back into the early 1900s, challenging the stereotype that women worked only in the home. The book is organized chronologically by year of birth, and the text provides information about each photographer. Spanning both technique and conceptual concerns, the book provides a deep understanding of the inner workings of the artists as photographers and their motivations and opinions about photography itself. A must-have for anyone interested in photography, especially for scholars interested in the history of photography.

Summing Up: Essential. All readers.
R. Hackemann, Kansas State University
Interdisciplinary Subjects: Women’s & Gender Studies
Subject: Humanities – Art & Architecture – Photography
Choice Issue: Aug 2023

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