The New Woman Behind the Camera
Andrea Nelson (Ed.)
National Gallery of Art Washington, 2020
An in-depth look at the many ways women around the world helped shape modern photography from the 1920s to the 1950s as they captured images of a radically changing world
During the 1920s the New Woman was easy to recognize but hard to define. Hair bobbed and fashionably dressed, this iconic figure of modernity was everywhere, splashed across magazine pages or projected on the silver screen. A global phenomenon, she embodied an ideal of female empowerment based on real women making revolutionary changes in life and art—including photography.
This groundbreaking, richly illustrated book looks at those “new women” who embraced the camera as a mode of expression and made a profound impact on the medium from the 1920s to the 1950s. Thematic chapters explore how women emerged as a driving force in modern photography, bringing their own perspective to artistic experimentation, studio portraiture, fashion and advertising work, scenes of urban life, ethnography and photojournalism.
Featuring work by 120 photographers, this volume expands the history of photography by critically examining an international array of canonical and less well-known women photographers, from Berenice Abbott, Dorothea Lange and Lola Álvarez Bravo to Germaine Krull, Tsuneko Sasamoto and Homai Vyarawalla. Against the odds, these women produced invaluable visual testimony that reflects both their personal experiences and the extraordinary social and political transformations of the era.