Book Presentation: A World History of Women Photographers
Participants: Marie Robert, Luce Lebart, and Maria Kapajeva
Moderator: Ileana L. Selejan, PhD
Few women photographers’ names have been canonized; the renown of the “great masters” has airbrushed them out of the academic history of photography. The erasure of women from history stems from a long tradition of being discredited. However, these groundbreaking, independent photographers have endlessly documented, questioned, and transfigured the world, demonstrating that the camera can be a tool of individual and collective emancipation. Upon closer examination, it is evident that women participated in all the movements and artistic experiments of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
This panel presents for the first time in the United States the collective survey A World History of Women Photographers. Nominated for the 2021 Historical Book Award by The Rencontres d’Arles, the book includes 450 images by 300 women photographers and contributions by 160 women authors from around the world on the diversity and careers of these photographers.
About the Speakers
Marie Robert is Head Curator of Photography at the Musée d’Orsay. She has organized over a dozen exhibitions from the museum’s collection, taking a socio-historical approach to the content. Her research and published articles focus on women’s place in the history of photography, along with the interconnections between photography and other forms of media.
Luce Lebart is a photography historian, curator, and researcher for the Archive of Modern Conflict collection. Her research focuses on images and practices that have remained in the shadow of history. She is the author of numerous books and exhibitions involving photographs produced without artistic intent, archives, and scientific and documentary photography.
Maria Kapajeva is an artist who works between the United Kingdom and Estonia. Her work often explores a diverse spectrum of cultural identity and gender issues within historical and contemporary contexts. Focusing on women’s position in contemporary society, she aims to question how identities are formed via the subconscious effects of advertising, movies, and popular media through research-based work.
Dr. Ileana L. Selejan is a research fellow with the Decolonising Arts Institute, University of the Arts London. At University College London, she is part of the European Research Council-funded project Citizens of Photography: The Camera and the Political Imagination. Her research investigates Nicaraguan citizens’ engagement with politics through photography, and how photographs are circulated across the public sphere.