Seven female photographers history forgot, and why you shouldn’t


posted Tuesday, November 3, 2015 at 6:00 AM EST


AnOther Magazine's Sam Johnson has written an excellent article that gives an overview of seven unsung heroines of photography, all of whom lived and worked in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

The impetus for the article is an exhibit being held in Paris, France until January 24th, 2016 which highlights the work of historic female photographers that unfortunately have gone under the radar for far too long. The Who's Afraid of Women Photographers? exhibit includes the work of 165 women photographers, which has led to the exhibition being split up and held simultaneously at Musée de l'Orangerie and Musée d'Orsay

"Arcady" captured by Frances Benjamin Johnston in 1917 on a glass lantern slide and hand-painted.

In her article, Ms. Johnson highlights Frances Benjamin Johnston, Alice Austen, Ruth Bernhard, Tina Modotti, Gertrude Käsebier, Barbara Morgan, and Christina Broom. While all of these women were immensely talented, they all also helped to pave the way for future female photographers. Take Frances Benjamin Johnston for example, who in 1900 co-curated an international exhibition of work by female photographers. Käsebier, as well, did a lot of work to encourage other women to take up photography, a male-dominated field in which she believed women could find success. Ms. Johnson also discusses Tina Modotti, who was married to the famous photographer, Edward Weston. In an Oregon farmhouse in 1990, a large number of Modotti's photographs were found and her work finally got much-deserved recognition -- almost fifty years after her death!

Tina Modotti portrait by Edward Weston in 1921.

While the work of male photographers throughout history is important, the work of historic female photographers is just as significant and often not given the recognition it deserves. Readers, who are some of your favorite female photographers of the past and present?

(Both the portrait of Frances Benjamin Johnston and her image, "Arcady," have been gifted to the Library of Congress among a large collection of her works. The portrait of Tina Modotti is in the public domain.)