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5 Early Women Photographers And Their Photos

5 Early Women Photographers And Their Photos


…because every day is Women’s day.

Emma Barton (1872-1938)

Emma Burton was born in 1872 in Birmingham, United Kingdom, into a working-class family. She was introduced to photography by the brother-in-law of her stepfather, and started exposing herself thanks by publishing portraits of music hall star Dan Leno.

She was highly regarded internationally. She was awarded the Royal Photographic Society Medal in 1903 for The Awakening. In 1904 she had her first solo show at the Royal Photographic Society. The following year, she was awarded a $100 prize at the Second American Salon.

The Awakening, 1903

Girl with Basket of Gooseberries,

“Often, when British children ask where babies come from, they are told that they can be found ‘under a gooseberry bush.’ This agrees with the Victorian flower meaning of the blossom: anticipation.” – Courtney Alexander, from essay “Berries as Symbols and in Folklore”.

Martha Holmes (1923-2006)

Holmes’ interest in photography grew when she was young and studying art at the University of Louisville. She was hired as photo lab at the Louisville Courier-Journal and The Louisville Times newspapers. Enjoying her work led her to become a full-time black-and-white photographer when many of the paper’s male photographers were called to service in World War II. Martha Holmes’ career is deeply involved with the political events of the 20th century.

Martha Holmes, LIFE

Pollock at work, with Less Krasner behind, Martha Holmes, LIFE
Salvador Dali w/ his wife Gala, Martha Holmes

Alice Austen (1866-1952)

Alice Austen was an American photographer. Alice was introduced to photography when her uncle, a Danish sea captain named Oswald Müller, brought home a camera when she was ten years old. Through her photos, she challenged Victorian oppression sharing independence and individuality moments. Alice Austen took over 8,000 photographs in her lifetime. The collection was dispersed over several locations when Alice lost her home in 1945. Over 100 years later, Alice Austen is finally being recognized as an LGBTQ icon.

Alice Austen – Self portrait on the veranda ca. 1888

Eight people in a yard with Trude Eccleston
The Darned Club, 1891

See Also

Anne W. Brigman (1869-1950)

Anne Brigman was one of the original members of the Photo-Secession movement in America. She photographed young women nude in the landscape of the Sierra Nevada mountains of Northern California. Some may say she would explore a kind of feminist art, although the concept didn’t exist, but thing is she seamlessly made nature and female body her studio.

Margaret Bourke-White (1904-1971)

Margaret Bourke-White was an American documentary photographer, the first foreign photographer allowed to take photos in the URSS. But that’s not her only “first”: she was also the first American female war photojournalist and the first female photographer to have her photo featured in the first issue of LIFE Magazine.

Margaret Bourke-White
Gandhi, by Margaret Bourke-White
Margaret Bourke-White

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