Qui a peur des femmes photographes? Hey, that just what WE wanted to know!

Who’s afraid of women photographers? Or, perhaps you’d rather that we run that by you in French: Qui a peur des femmes photographes?

women photographersQui, indeed.

If you’re not—afraid of women photographers, that is—you may find this exhibition fascinating and informative. We refer, of course, to the photography exhibition Qui a peur des femmes photographes? It’s running in Paris till the end of January. French journalist and photographer Anais Chatellier has thoughtfully (and thought-fully) reviewed the exhibition here.

Women photographers have tended not to receive their due, and this is apparently at least as true in France as it has been here in Les Etats-Unis. According to Guy Cogeval, one of the organizers of the exhibition, “The role of women in creativity, and in particular in photography, is not yet taken seriously enough in France. Women are, however, essential for understanding modernity in action in the arts.” Abigail Solomon-Godeau, a French critic and historian of photography, concurs: “Some are completely unaware of the fact that many women shaped the history of photography from the start.”

women photographers151208141048-11-tbt-women-photographers-exhibit-super-169This exhibition traces the involvement of women in the burgeoning field of photography from its humble beginnings in 1839, up to 1945. The photographers featured in the exhibit range from household name Dorothea Lange—the iconic chronicler of the Great Depression—to less known contributors to the field: Julia Margaret Cameron, a pioneer of the close-up shot; Gertrude Käsebier, who photographed Native Americans as individuals rather than as cultural types; Margaret Bourke-White, the first female war photojournalist; and Ruth Bernhard, an early photographer of the nude female form.

women photographerswomen photographersOther photographers featured in the exhibition include Jessie Tarbox Beals, whom the Library of Congress calls “America’s first female news photographer”… Christina Broom, who has been called Britain’s first female press photographer… and Consuelo Kanaga, who focused attention on the everyday lives of people of color.