Women photographers: a world still unexplored

“Women photographers” is the title of the box set published by Contrasto Editions dedicated to the great female authors who have made the history of photography. Three volumes for an extraordinary journey that allows you to retrace the entire history of photography through the female gaze.

Women photographers, a catalog of the most significant authors 

Robert Delpire has found that out of over 150 volumes on the greatest masters of photography, very few have been devoted to women. The same is true in general for editorial publications and exhibitions.

From the awareness of this disparity, the project of Clara Bouveresse, historian of photography, and Sarah Moon, photographer herself, was born: the intent is to investigate the fundamental contribution offered by women to photography and to draw up a sort of long catalog of the most significant authors.

All this because there have always been women photographers: they have managed photographic studios, filed patents, told the world, experimented, researched, exercised their talent in the art of portraits, surrealist photomontage, fashion and reportage.

Women Photographers” is presented in a box set consisting of three volumes that bring together Sarah Moon’s “colleagues of the heart”. The first volume is that of the Pioneers (1851-1936), enterprising and courageous experimenters such as Julia Margaret Cameron, Claude Cahun, Imogen Cunningham or Tina Modotti, women who took possession of photography since its creation, opening studios and real photographic laboratories, inventing and traveling.

Credit: Julia Margaret Cameron

The second volume is represented instead by the Revolutionary Women (1937-1970), who with new energy documented wars, political clashes and important social issues. These are women, such as Margaret Bourke-White, Lee Miller, Gerda Taro, Diane Arbus, Eve Arnold and Vivian Maier, who claimed a subjective and personal approach, taking a stand and participating in various battles with their extremely committed photography.

Credit: Margaret Bourke-white

Finally, we come to the third volume, that of the Visionaries (1970-2010). These women photographers have contributed to the combination of photography with video, installations and other media, also questioning the concept of image creation, such as Cindy Sherman, Sophie Calle, Francesca Woodman or Shirin Neshat. The world of photography, with the new means used, breaks the boundaries of the West and many female photographers from other continents are thus valued.

Credit: Cindy Sherman

The three volumes thus constructed stand as a first, necessary step to be taken in order to show the richness, diversity and above all equality of the history of photography.

The discovery of evolving photography

“The selection is intended to be completed, questioned, extended. This brick for the construction of the building of the history of women photographers wants to be, in short, a contribution and not a final judgment” as Clara Bouveresse writes.

Now, however, this boxed set is certainly an indispensable tool for anyone who wants to discover a continent still largely unexplored, useful for traversing the history of photographic art in the work of almost two hundred women photographers.

Mariachiara Proietti Di Fulvio

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