There is a wide difference between being the object or the subject in Art. Through history, women have been represented as objects in paintings and photos but haven’t been valued as subjects. They have faced challenges due to gender biases, like difficulty in gaining recognition or selling their work. For centuries, women were systematically excluded from the records of art history, and even though nowadays they are leading a change, there is still much to do.
An audit by Gemma Rolls-Bentley of the art world shows that every artist in the top 100 auction sales last year was a man. And if you look at the numbers of women in photography, the statistics are discouraging. In 1983, about 20% of photographers were women, and today about 20% of photojournalists are women. Furthermore, The National Endowment for the Arts estimates that the median income for women photographers in the United States is about half of that for men.
Why haven’t more women been considered great artists throughout history? Why their paper has been relegated to being a muse or a model? Why don’t we study their life’s work at school? What’s more, there are a few who have actually been important in Art history and that are invisibilized. It’s time to recuperate them.
Constance Talbot (1811-1880), the wife of photography pioneer Henry Fox Talbot, and Anna Atkins (1799-1871), an English botanist and friend of the Talbots, were the first female photographers.
Gerda Taro (1910-1937), worked alongside Robert Capa photographing the Spanish Civil War, fighting against tradition. She is regarded as the first female photojournalist to cover the front lines of a war and to die while doing so.
Lee Miller (1907 – 1977) is an American photographer. She began her career after she decided to give up modeling and get behind the lens of a camera herself.