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Photography: researching its history, processes, and photographers: Women in photography

Women in photography

Bernardin, Susan, editor. Trading Gazes: Euro-American Women Photographers and Native North Americans, 1880-1940. New Brunswick, NJ; London: Rutgers University Press, 2003.

Examines, through the work of four women photographers, “the contexts in which these women’s photographs and texts have been received,” at the moment of their production, as they were collected into albums, books, and memoirs and eventually into museums and archives, and as they became part of the history of tribes and nations.

Clark Stacks NE2612 T733


Göteborgs universitet, and Hasselblad Center. Women Photographers: European Experience. Edited by Lena Johannesson, Gunilla Knape, and Eva Dahlman. Acta Universitatis Gothoburgensis, no. 15. Gothenburg: Acta Universitatis Gothoburgensis, 2004.

 Project to give prominence to the role and work of selected European women photographers, some already known and others who have been omitted from written histories.  Beginning with a broad overview of careers, ways of working and use of the medium in Germany and Sweden, essays include case studies and comparative analyses covering a number of countries to ensure that central, southern and eastern Europe are represented. Space has been devoted to striking developments among women photographers in recent decades in France, Poland, and Sweden.

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Gover, C. Jane. The Positive Image: Women Photographers in Turn of the Century America. SUNY Series in the New Cultural History.  Albany: State University of New York Press, 1988.

Shows ways in which American women first became involved in photography, places women photographers in the context of wider changes in the lives of middle-class women moving into the professions and forging networks to circumvent the limits imposed by male-dominated society, and explores the struggle for women to achieve their own vision as photographers.

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Gresh, Kristen. She Who Tells a Story: Women Photographers from Iran and the Arab World. Boston: Museum of Fine Arts, 2013.

Exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, August 27, 2013 - January 12, 2014.  Essay by Kristen Gresh contextualizes the work of 12 artists from Iran and Arab world whose photographs explore issues of, among other things, politics, culture, artistic and personal expression, gender, and "the fractured identity and disposession of 'women's being'" at a critical moment in Iranian and Arab history.

Clark Stacks  NE2674 B67 2013


Heron, Liz, and Val Williams, editors. Illuminations: Women Writing on Photography from the 1850s to the Present. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1996.

Anthology of women’s writings on photography; includes sections on the 19th century in Europe, the Avant-Gardes and after, fashion and portraiture in the interwar years, documentary and reportage in North America, history lessons (e.g. Berenice Abbot, Susan Sontag), writings on photographers, postmodernisms and the politics of looking, decolonizing the image, and memories and fictions.

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Hôtel de Sully (Paris, France), Musée Nicéphore Niépce, and Musée d’Evreux. Les Femmes Photographes: De La Nouvelle Vision En France 1920-1940. Edited by Christian Bouqueret. Paris:  Marval, 1998.

Catalog of an exhibition held at Hôtel de Sully, Paris, April 3-June 7, 1998, at Musée Nicéphore Niépce, Chalon-sur-Saône, June 19-September 13, 1998, and at Musée de l’ancien évêché, Evreux, October-November, 1998. Includes an introductory essay, brief biographies of the photographers and a general bibliography.

Clark Stacks NE2649 P375 1998


Kornblum, Helen, and St. Louis Art Museum.  CollectionDefining Eye: Women Photographers of the 20th Century: Selections from the Helen KornblumSt. Louis: Saint Louis Art Museum, 1997.

Exhibition that celebrates almost two decades of collecting by Helen Kornblum, “featuring an international array of women photographers whose important contributions to the history of art and photography have provided a singular perspective on life, the self, our relationship to the world and to each other.”

Clark Stacks N5298 K838 1997


Kreisel, Martha. American Women Photographers: A Selected and Annotated Bibliography. Art Reference Collection, no. 18. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1999.

Indexes a substantial body of monographs, exhibition catalogs, journal articles, and dissertations on and by American women photographers.  Provides a listing of the artists, many of whom were unknown but others of whom were major influences on documentary photography, experimental photography, and feminist photography.

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Moutoussamy-Ashe, Jeanne. Viewfinders: Black Women Photographers. New York: Writers & Readers, 1993.

Chronologically arranged sections provide historical overviews of given spans of time (1839-1910, 1910-1930, 1930-1950, 1950-1970, 1970-1985) together with carefully researched biographies of specific photographers.  Other sections include a bio-bibliography, general listings for 1860-1960 and 1960-1980, and indexes.

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Neumaier, Diane, ed. Reframings: New American Feminist Photographies. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1995.

A collection of contemporary photo artworks and critical essays grounded in feminist analyses of visual representation that explore the dynamics of visual images and ideology, how each is embedded in the other, and how together they contribute to the status of women.

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Palmquist, Peter E. A Bibliography of Writings by and about Women in Photography, 1850-1990. 2nd edition, revised and enlarged. Arcata, CA: P.E. Palmquist, 1994.

Features the widest possible variety of articles with at least some relevance to women photographers (also women authors, critics, art dealers and historians, etc.) whether written by a woman or a man.  Essays range from autobiographical to technical “how-to” writings; also included are critical writings and chappy accounts and articles on male photographers written by women.  Annotated entries are arranged chronologically and then by author.  Includes an index and select bibliography of books and articles of interest to researchers investigating the field of women photographers on a global scale.

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———. Shadowcatchers: A Directory of Women in California Photography before 1901. 1st ed. Arcata, CA: P.E. Palmquist, 1990.

Alphabetically arranged entries include background information on the photographer (full name and any variants, occupation(s), place and date of photographic activity, vital statistics, sources of information used), a chronology that includes studio and workplace locations, personal residences, competitions entered, etc., and any relevant cross-references.  Includes several  essays, selected readings, and a checklist of women in California photography by region.

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Sandler, Martin W. Against the Odds: Women Pioneers in the First Hundred Years of American Photography. New York: Rizzoli International Publications, 2002.

Filled with fascinating stories, this book aims to “fill in important gaps in the adventure that is photography, gaps created by the absence in photography’s story of many pioneer camerawomen.  The purpose is to present the human side of this saga, revealing, often in their own words, what drove these photographers to their work, what they sought to achieve through their images, techniques, and approaches, and to show the scope of their contributions.”

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San Francisco Museum of Art, Museum of Fine Arts (Museum of New Mexico), University of Wisconsin--Milwaukee, and Jewett Arts Center (Wellesley, Mass.) Women of Photography: An Historical Survey. San Francisco: The Museum, 1975.

Exhibition whose basic concept “was to bring together works by those women photographers who have, throughout the history of the medium’s functioning life, made distinguished contributions to the broadening pattern of our culture.” Includes an introductory essay by Anne Noggle and a selected bibliography.  Each entry includes a representative photograph and checklist of other works shown, in addition to biographical information.

Clark Stacks NE2601 S345 1975


Schirmer, Lothar, and Naomi Rosenblum, editors. Women Seeing Women: A Pictorial History of Women’s Photography from Julia Margaret Cameron to Annie Liebovitz. American edition. New York:  Norton, 2003.

A brief essay by Natalie Rosenblum introduces a collection of images that comprise a pictorial history of images made of women by women, chronologically arranged from the 19th century through the 1990s.  Includes brief biographies of the photographers and their subjects.

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Sullivan, Constance, and Eugenia Parry, editors. Women Photographers. New York: Abrams, 1990.

Attempts to "explore the questions, concerns, and considerations raised in looking at a selection of photographs by women, to suggest how that work has affected, influenced, and shaped the language of photography, and to reveal a fascinating episode in the development of the medium."  Includes 200 pictures, arranged chronologically from 1850 (Maria Chambefort) to 1989 (Cindy Sherman).

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The Blatant Image. Sunny Valley, OR: Blatant Image, 1981 - 1983.

A magazine of feminist photography, published annually from 1981 to 1983.  Articles range from the 'how to' variety with titles like "Using Color Negative Film" and "Documenting Rituals" to pieces on "Integrating Life and Work", "Making Ourselves Real" and "Living Feminist Photography."

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Williams, Val. Women Photographers: The Other Observers, 1900 to the Present. London: Virago Press, 1986.

Aims "to resituate, within a women's tradition, women whose work is widely known and secondly to rediscover the work of women photographers whose photography has fallen into obscurity."  Includes essays on photography in transition (an overview 1840-1939), women documentary photographers 1900-1918, documentary photographs of the 1930s, Venessa Bell and snapshot photography, experimental photography 1920-1940, women reporters and the Picture Post, portraiture in the studio 1900-1955, and feminist photography 1970-1986.

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Zacheta Narodowa Galeria Sztuki (Warsaw, Poland).  She-Documentalists: Polish Women Photographers of the 20th Century. Edited by Karolina Lewandowska, Lech Majewski, and Marcin Wawrzynczak. 1st edition. Olszanica : Warsaw: Bosz ; Zacheta, 2008.

Exhibition of the works of over 50 forgotten or unacknolwedged Polish women photographers, discovered through research in archives, museums, libraries, and private collections, using the subject matter and material as an opportunity to “broaden the discourse on the nature of photography as a document, feature report, or work of art.”

Clark Stacks NE2671 P6 W377 2008

E. Jane Gay

Jean E. Gay. "Photographer," 1883. In: Trading Gazes: Euro-American Women Photographers and Native North Americans, 1880-1940, by Susan Bernardin, editor, p. 23. New Brunswick, NJ; London: Rutgers University Press, 2003.

Frances Benjamin Johnston

Frances Benjamin Johnston. "Self-Portrait." In: The Positive Image: women photographers in turn of the century America, by Jane C. Gover, plate 25. Albany, New York,  State University of New York Press, 1988.

Cindy Sherman

Cindy Sherman. "Selfportrait." In "Cindy Sherman Unmasked," by Carol Vogel. The New York Times. Web. February 16, 2012.

Search the Clark Library catalog for holdings of Cindy Sherman's work.

Yong Soon Min

Yong Soon Min.. "Self portrait." Defining Moments. 1992. Yong Soon Min. Web. 30 April 2015.

For more work by Yong Soon Min see Neumaler, Diane. editor. Reframings: New American Feminist Photographies. Philadelphia. Temple University Press, 1988.

Shirin Neshat

Shirin Neshat. "Self portrait."  In Bailey, John," Update Number One-Roy Andersson, Robert Frank,  Shirin Neshat."  BlogPost.  The American Society of Cinematographers. October 29, 2009. Web. 30 April 2015.

For more work by Shirin Neshat see Gresh, Kristen. She Who Tells a Story: Women Photographers from Iran and the Arab World. Boston. Museum of Fine Arts, 2013.