PHOTOGRAPHY: A global range of 21st-century photobooks by female photographers.
Bianca-Olivia Nita
Bianca is a freelance journalist and documentary critic. She is a regular contributor to Modern Times Review.
Published date: November 11, 2019

How We See: Photobooks by Women
Author: Russet Lederman Olga Yatskevich Michael Lang
10x10 Photobooks Inc, USA

When looking at top prizes in photography, at «book on books» anthologies or established photobook publishers’ inventories, it becomes clear that the representation of women is small in comparison with their male peers. How We See: Photobooks by Women is a book on books that came to life as a result of this discovery – a little gem of carefully selected photo projects that call for slow and careful exploration, and that appeal to the curiosity of both heart and mind.

To create this collection, ten women experts in the photobook field from ten diverse geographic regions were invited to shed light on their favorite photobooks made by female photographers. The books selected had to be in print, published between 1843 and 2010, and had to be historically significant, preferably reflecting the regions their makers came from. The result is a mosaic of conceptually well-defined projects. By turning their lenses toward private space, or looking outwards at the world around, each of the books selected uncovers a personal or social angle you might or might not have considered before.

Otherwise forgotten
It is important to say that the idea of having a carefully curated anthology of women photographers is generous, yet if this was How We See’s main selling point, it wouldn’t be enough. Its true value is not in the fact that it «supports women,» but that it turns the spotlight on powerful work that otherwise might be forgotten or unseen.

With each page, the readers are drawn into an experience that goes beyond what the images depict

One of my favorite projects featured is on Hannah Höch, one of the only women photographer members of the Dada movement, which pioneered the political photomontage. While working as an editor for women’s magazines in the 20s, she collected magazine ads and newspapers that address women’s emancipation and domesticity, gender roles, political discourses, racism, and slavery. She experimented with technique but, facing censorship in Nazi Germany, never found a publisher for her photobook named Bilderbuch (Picture Book). Eventually, it was published as a facsimile in 2008.

A challenging micro …

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