When it comes to photography, some of the most renowned names in this field are those of men. The role of women in photography and women as photographers somehow become overshadowed in the entire glamour of men photographers. The relation of women with the art of photography is much more than just being clicked by the lens. Women were as much successful in this field as were their counterparts. In fact, in Europe women had their own styles in developing this art form. However, the first photo studio opened by a woman was in the 1890 in the city of New York.
These amateur women photographers were encouraged to participate in photo sessions, clubs and meetings. They were confident in their work and produced some fine photographs of native people, landscapes and nature; some of which were even put up for exhibitions. With photography carving a permanent niche as a tool for news and information dissemination among the mass, many woman photo journalists started coming to mainstream media from the early 1990’s. Nevertheless, it was only during the First World War, that these women photographers got their work recognised.
Some of the first work of photography was to document microscopic algae’s. Photographers like Anna Atkins, Constance Fox Talbot and Emma Thomasina Talbot started producing photo-grams of algae which were published in the first book with photographic illustrations. In Europe by the late 1840’s women had started opening their small-scale photo studios where they practiced different photography techniques and managed these business alone. This gave them a feeling of independence of sorts. Some such early entrepreneurial women were Genevieve Elisabeth Disderi (France), Bertha Wehnert Beckmann (Germany), Emilie Bieber (Hamburg),Thora Hallager (Denmark) remembered primarily due to her photograph of Hans Christian Andersen and Alwina Gossauer (Switzerland).
Over the years, with development and liberalism creeping into the society, more and more female photographers started entering this field. Some of the well-known women photojournalists in the 21st century are Narelle Autio, Eva Vermandel (known for her photographs of Ireland and Iceland), Zhang Jingna, Saadiya Kochar and others. When it comes to photographs, women are not behind men.
The 21st Century has seen a new tool in dissemination of one’s talent of photography- Blogs. There are hundreds of women all over the world, who have taken to opening their personal photography blogs in order to showcase their talent to the world. Furthermore, photography today is a very broad term. Thus, people prefer to define their field of photography by choosing a portfolio oriented career. While some prefer to become wedding photographers, some choose travel, architecture and culture. Food Photography too is on the rise. Some famous photo bloggers are Jasmine Star (Wedding Photographer), Rachael Branke (General Photography Tips), Holly Andres (Themes of childhood), Cass Bird (Casual Photography) and Stephanie Gonot (Food blogger).
Thus, women in the field of photography have come a long way since the inception of this art form. Today, there are new tools and software’s to make this art form all the more suitable. With such inspirational women laying the path for other to come, more and more women are venturing in this field in contemporary times. Although, it is understandable that not everyone finds a niche in this field and not everyone is interested to it, even then four out of ten women have been drawn towards this field at some point in their life.
Thus, photography is as much as a woman’s profession as it is a profession of men.