Since the inception of photography nearly 200 years ago, women have played an important role in its development, often pushing boundaries and defying social
convention. These great women photographers stood their
ground in a man’s world to establish reputations as photojournalists and fine
art photographers. They paved the
way for succeeding generations of women who today play major roles in the
profession. Our course begins in the 19th century and moves through the 20th to the present. Some of the artists we will study: Julia Margaret Cameron, Dorothea Lange, Margaret Bourke-White, Daine Arbus, Vivien Maier, Cindy Sherman.
Our primary focus is to look closely at the
photographs themselves—to analyze their formal characteristics (light,
composition, line, etc.) as well as subject matter. To ask: Why is this photograph effective? How does it make us feel? What does it want us to see? We also want to understand each artist's place in the history of photography and in the context of her times. And to ponder: Are there "woman's' subjects?" Do women photograph women differently than men? In individual cases, were
these women helped or hindered by the man around them? And, of course, there are the ever-evolving issues on the nature of photography as medium and art.