Segments in this Video

Women in Photography (03:47)


Female photographers throughout history are virtually unknown. From its invention in 1839, photography was a self-taught art form that did not require the skills of painting or sculpture; women were free to experiment with techniques. (Credits)

Julia Margaret Cameron (03:29)

Cameron was the first artist to deliberately experiment with the camera. She staged theatrical images; Alfred Stieglitz made her a pioneer of Pictorialism. Cameron and Lady Clementina Hawarden had the financial means to fully commit to photography.

Criticizing Feminine Stereotypes (01:34)

In contrast to Cameron and Hawarden, American female photographers like Frances Benjamin Johnston and Alice Austen explored social and political identities through cross dressing self-portraits.

La Comtesse de Castiglione (01:40)

Castiglione staged her own portraits and hired technicians to photograph her. She dressed from different periods of history to act out roles.

Golden Age of Female Photography (02:56)

In the interwar period in Europe, women in the Paris avant garde scene used photography for personal expression and social independence. Female emancipation paralleled the movement to recognize photography as an independent art form. Smaller cameras enabled greater flexibility in shooting.

Greta Stern (02:16)

Female photographers like Madame Yevonde and Lee Miller developed Surrealist techniques attributed to men. Ironic images depict domination in gender relations. Stern emigrated from Germany to South America and illustrated a psychoanalysis column with images depicting dream interpretation.

Claude Cahun (02:52)

Little research has been done on female photographers from the interwar period. Cahun was a Surrealist artist that explored androgyny. Hear her thoughts on gender neutrality and identity.

Professional Female Photographers (01:38)

Lucia Moholy and Gisele Freund both wrote histories of photography in the 1930s, highlighting women's contributions to the art form. They did portraits and advertising images for income.

Fashion Photography (02:56)

Fashion magazines promoted experimentation from the 1930s to the 1950s. Sarah Moon discusses her professional strategy, including establishing mutual understanding with female models.

Lisette Model (02:44)

Male fashion photographers usually create female stereotypes. Model broke away from the feminine image in her portraits of women. Jane Evelyn Atwood recalls a conversation in which Model talked about Diane Arbus' mental health.

Jane Evelyn Atwood (01:46)

Atwood is inspired by Arbus' work. She discusses her fascination with marginalized people and disagrees with distinguishing female from male photographers; women should receive recognition for their work, rather than their gender.

Documentary Photography (02:01)

Photographers document what is happening in the field, with a narrative. Dorothea Lange excelled at creating a message. Women like Sabine Weiss participated in the French humanist movement.

Street Photography (04:21)

Female photographers like Model and Vivian Maier documented urban society in the 1940s and 1950s. Atwood and Godeau discuss why it is difficult to take street photographs, as women. Learn about Maier's posthumous fame.

War Photography (04:23)

Christine Spengler discusses her apocalyptic image of the bombing of Phnom Penh. Gerda Taro worked with Robert Capa and died in the Spanish Civil War, but received no credit. View World War II images taken by women, including concentration camp liberation.

Risking Life for Photography (02:43)

Spengler, Catherine Leroy, and Francoise Demulder were self-taught photojournalists in the 1970s. Spengler discusses her desire to show the world's suffering. Leroy finally received the Robert Capa award in 1976. View Demulder's World Press Award winning image of Beirut.

Feminist Movement (nudity) (02:11)

In the 1970s, the female body became a political issue. Women photographers explored issues of domestic confinement, public space, and gender power relations.

Subversive Photography (03:01)

During the 1980s, photography entered the art market. Photographers began creating political and social images. Nan Goldin shot impulsively and developed a technically chaotic style while recording her private life in a photographic "diary."

Recognizing Women Photographers (05:14)

Female photographers have reclaimed private and domestic spaces. Dorothee Smith and Michel Poivert argue against distinguishing women's art from men's; works are interpreted by the viewer. Museums and art historians should be proactive about including more female artists.

Credits: Through Women's Lenses (00:44)

Credits: Through Women's Lenses

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Through Women's Lenses

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This visual documentary combines contemporary and historical perspectives. Viewers will find themselves wanting to delve into coffee-table books or take a trip to a museum. Ask people to name five photographers, from past or present, and chances are that few will think to name a woman. Highlighting Julia Margaret Cameron, Claude Cahun, Dorthea Lange, Lisette Model, Vivian Maier, Christine Spengler, and Nan Goldin—and featuring images from many more female photographers—this film looks at invaluable contributions that women have made to the art form. With photography currently in vogue, it is a fitting time to dedicate a film to women photographers and to set the record straight on their little-known talents.

Length: 53 minutes

Item#: BVL120465

ISBN: 978-1-63521-555-7

Copyright date: ©2015

Closed Captioned

Performance Rights

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Not available to Home Video customers.

Only available in USA and Canada.