Against the Odds: Women Pioneers in the First Hundred Years of Photography

Overview

The history of photography, and women's role within that history, remains incomplete-despite the fact that the medium was invented more than 150 years ago. Pulitzer Prize nominee Martin Sandler's Against the Odds: Women Pioneers in the First Hundred Years of Photography, with its carefully balanced commentary on women who have been lost in the historical record as well as those who have received their due, makes a vital contribution to the literature on women photographers. It remains an extraordinary fact in the...
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Overview

The history of photography, and women's role within that history, remains incomplete-despite the fact that the medium was invented more than 150 years ago. Pulitzer Prize nominee Martin Sandler's Against the Odds: Women Pioneers in the First Hundred Years of Photography, with its carefully balanced commentary on women who have been lost in the historical record as well as those who have received their due, makes a vital contribution to the literature on women photographers. It remains an extraordinary fact in the history of art that women participated so fully in the development and proliferation of the photographic medium. This volume surveys over thirty groundbreaking women who were able to negotiate the conventional boundaries of their time in order to forge successful careers and build distinguished bodies of work. Organized thematically, this volume attends to various genres which were developing in the first 100 years after photography's invention. Eight chapters-including one on portraiture (one of the earliest popular uses of photography); landscape; and photojournalism, to name a few-attend to the hardships they overcame and the considerable impact these women made in the world of photography. The book concludes with a consideration of extraordinary work which was experimental and innovative, work which explored the nature of photography itself-a medium based on light.

The volume includes work by Dorothea Lange, who poignantly documented the hardships of Depression-era sharecroppers and Berenice Abbott, who is best known for her evocative shots of New York City. Margaret Bourke-White's considerable influence is detailed as the photo-journalist who set the standard for press images through her work at Life magazine. Lesser known figures-who were well-known in their time-such as early portraitists Catherine Barnes Ward and Frances Benjamin Johnston, captured turn-of-the century African-American daily life and as such contribute considerably to our understanding of our American past. We also see the work of Toni Frissell, a World War II photographer who authored the print that became Winston Churchill's official portrait. A substantive and substantial complement to a history fragmented for far too long, Against the Odds recommends itself to those interested in the extraordinary accomplishments of women in the single most important technological advance of the nineteenth century.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Until recently, many photohistorians have overlooked women photographers and their important contributions to the early years of the medium. Pulitzer Prize nominee Sandler (American Image: Photographing 150 Years in the Life of a Nation) here balances this uneven history, reexamining the established literature to show that, from the beginning, women have been actively shaping the history of this art form. Similar history books exist, the most popular being Naomi Rosenblum's A History of Women Photographers. But where Rosenblum's comprehensive tome takes a chronological approach to the study of women in photography, Sandler concentrates on American photography and the historical movements within the medium. He includes chapters on portraiture, photography as art, the documentary eye, and landscape and nature. Included are nearly 175 illustrations by well-known artists such as Berenice Abbott, Imogen Cunningham, and Margaret Bourke-White. Sandler also introduces several lesser-known women artists who have made equally strong contributions to American photography. Highly recommended for all collections. Shauna Frischkorn, Millersville Univ., PA Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780847823048
  • Publisher: Rizzoli
  • Publication date: 4/6/2002
  • Pages: 192
  • Product dimensions: 10.82 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.93 (d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments viii
Preface ix
1. Beginnings 2
2. Portraiture 30
3. Photography as Art 48
4. The Documentary Eye 70
5. Photographing the Native Americans 98
6. Landscape and Nature 114
7. For the Printed Page 140
8. Experimentation/Innovation 168
Bibliography 182
Index 184
Photo credits 188
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