The New Woman Behind the Camera is a book that takes an in-depth look at the history of women behind the camera, from their first appearances in film to today.
The new woman behind the camera is a documentary that follows the journey of female photographers. It’s an easy watch, and it’s worth checking out. Read more in detail here: new woman behind the camera catalog.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s exhibition “The New Face of Photography” covers a lot of territory. Female photographers, in unprecedented numbers and on a worldwide scale, opened up new creative vistas for themselves and other women during the 1920s and 1940s, according to more than 120 photographers from more than 20 nations.
The New Woman Behind the Camera
The Metropolitan Museum of Art on Fifth Avenue Until Oct. 3
Andrea Nelson, assistant curator in the Department of Photographs at Washington’s National Gallery and editor of the enormous catalog, came up with the concept for this gender-focused global history of Modernist photography. Because Covid-19 was unable to launch in September 2020 as planned, it is making its premiere here. (It will be held at the National Gallery in October.)
Ms. Nelson and Mia Fineman, the Met’s curator of photos, have decided to arrange the 185 prints, photobooks, and associated material by topics rather than by location, such as “The City,” “Fashion and Advertising,” “The Studio,” “Social Documentary,” and “Modern Bodies.”
‘Self-Portrait With Leica’ by Ilse Bing (1931)
Photo courtesy of the Ilse Bing Estate and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
The exhibition claims that the flood of photography by women following World War I may be viewed as another manifestation of their newfound independence, despite the phrase “The New Woman” being difficult to define (it originates from the 1890s). More than a dozen women from China, India, Japan, Argentina, as well as Europe and the United States, shoot themselves or other photographers in the first gallery, implying that the camera was essential to their identity.
The exhibition compromises comprehensive demonstrations of individual talent for the sake of geographic breadth, in order to correct gaps in the canon and to honor unsung women from countries that photo historians have often neglected. Imogen Cunningham, Helen Levitt, Barbara Morgan, Lotte Jacobi, Consuelo Kanaga, Lillian Bassman, Lisette Model, and Charlotte Rudolph are just a few of the photographers that have just one print on display.
‘Mariette Pachhofer’ by Madame d’Ora (1921)
Photo courtesy of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.
A few photographers seem to be here mainly to demonstrate Modernism’s ubiquity. For example, the only reason a gloomy array of teacups (1935) by Olive Cotton is allowed to “Avant-Garde Experimentation” in my opinion is because Cotton was the only Australian in the exhibition. Fortunately, Ms. Nelson’s selection of additional relative unknowns is of exceptional quality. Germany produced several of the most innovative pictures.
“Night Shot, Berlin” (c. 1929) by Cami Stone depicts the city as a quivering network of electric lights. Close-up of a man’s strong shoulder and chest by Ilse Salberg (1938) focuses lewdly on the wispy strands of hair peeping out of his armpit. Only a picture of a sweating guy holding a shovel represents Eva Besnyö, a Hungarian with a studio in Berlin during the 1930s. Her portrayal of his half-naked back and loose trousers is vibrant, and it serves as a political criticism of the proletariat as beasts of burden: he is portrayed as all body, no head. The close cropping of Alban Berg’s big, beautiful head in Trude Fleischmann’s picture of him (about 1934) indicates that every part of him, even his hairline, was musical.
Margaret Bourke-White, Gerda Taro, and Lee Miller are among the well-known war photographers included in the “Reportage” section, which also includes lesser-known photographers. Niu Weiyu’s four prints from the 1950s are underwhelming, seldom transcending the heroic clichés of Communist Chinese propaganda.
‘Unknown’ by Tsuneko Sasamoto (1940)
/Metropolitan Museum of Art/Tsuneko Sasamoto
Galina Sanko, on the other hand, is an excellent discovery. The Russian’s action picture of troops ready to throw their hand grenades in 1943 is as dynamic and in-the-moment as her bleak and ageless group portrait of captives being dragged on a sled in 1943. They seem like figures from a Bruegel fable, wrapped up against the winter cold, black cutouts against the snow, and smoldering remains of buildings.
Ms. Nelson’s choice to exclude males is puzzling if she wants to describe the worldwide phenomenon of the New Woman and the role of photography in the process. Male photographers (and film filmmakers) were as, if not more, responsible for instilling in the public mind the image of women in the modern period as strong, adventurous, talented, and self-sufficient. Any photographic narrative of free women is incomplete without examples by Man Ray, Paul Strand, László Moholy-Nagy, Martin Munkásci, André Kertész, Robert Capa, and many more.
The presentation is also rather antiquated. Despite the plethora of striking pictures in each area, no effort is made to identify or assess the most important female photographers of a nation or era.
‘The Freeloaders,’ by Lola Lvarez Bravo (c. 1955)
Photo courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art
The smaller, more concentrated exhibits that will inevitably result from Ms. Nelson’s and her catalog partners’ tremendous research will be the legacy of revisionist surveys like these. The storyline of this program may not satisfy audiences, but curators will like the new characters it introduces in the future.
Mr. Woodward is a New York-based arts reviewer.
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The the medici: portraits and politics, 1512–1570 is a book that chronicles the life of the Italian Renaissance artist and printmaker Raphael. It was written by an art historian who had access to many of the original documents from this time period.
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