7 Important Historical Women Photographers from the Alinari Archive – ARTnews.com


Almost 200 years ago, two new methods of creating images debuted within weeks of each other in 1839: the daguerreotype, direct positive photographs where the images were etched directly onto a silvered copper plate, in France, and the calotype, the original photographic negative. in the form of paper sensitized with silver chloride, in England. Together, their inventions – by men who held the patents and usually restricted access to the equipment needed to make them – hailed the beginnings of photography.

Nonetheless, women have been professional photographers – and among the medium’s fiercest innovators – since its invention, however, their names, contributions and work tend to be less well known, such as Bertha Beckman, famous for being the very first female professional photographer. Recent efforts have been made to correct photography’s male-dominated canon, including 2021’s investigative exhibitions, “The New Woman Behind the Camera,” which debuted at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York before moving on. travel to the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. That same year, the Museum of Modern Art in New York received a major gift of 100 works by women photographers aimed at “unfixing the canon.”

Likewise, a recently opened exhibition at Villa Bardini and Forte di Belvedere in Florence showcases women photographers from the city’s Alinari Historical Archive, which includes a collection of over 5 million photographic documents, a photo library and vintage photographic instruments. collected by the world. oldest photographic firm (dating from 1852). Organized by Emanuela Sesti and Walter Guadagnini, “Fotografe! Women Photographers: Alinari Archives with Contemporary Perspectives,” which runs through October 2, features 50 photographers from the 19th century to the present day.

The show grew out of an effort to understand the involvement of women in early Florentine Alinari society. After learning that the role of women was largely limited to administrative work or fixing photographic prints on supports, the curators decided to map the presence of women in the firm’s collection of international and historical photographs. Some of those included in “Fotografe!” are now widely known, such as Julia Margaret Cameron, Margaret Bourke-White and Diane Arbus. Others were rarely, if ever, exposed.

Below is a look at seven groundbreaking female photographers whose work is experiencing a resurgence.


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