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Recent scholarship has uncovered new histories of women’s participation in professional photography beginning with its introduction to Japan circa 1848. Yet there remains a tendency in scholarship on the history of Japanese photography to think of women’s camera work as separate: its production either driven by gendered motivations or its participation limited by supposed social, physical, and technical limitations that women face. This panel seeks to question this narrative, bringing to light women who were involved in the professional practice of photography while addressing the practices of writing history and art history that have contributed to the continued denial of women’s lived experiences with photography.
Papers will suggest that this interest in women in the photographic profession is a means to re-think and re-write the history of photography to ask how it changes when photographic narratives are approached from the perspective of the women in the field. As we recover the participation of these women, the papers here will begin to understand the gendering of the practice of photography and why we (as a field) continue to see women professional photographers as producing work for reasons that are necessarily “other” from male counterparts. This includes acknowledging the contribution of women photographers who operated early commercial photographic studios, produced aides-de-memoire, propaganda and advertising, or edited photography magazines and newspapers. Papers might examine a particular gendered photographic practice, the miss-memory of the history of photography, the othering of women within photography circles, or the self and body in relation to the gendering of photography. We are interested in perspectives across all time periods, with the two-part goal of bringing to light the stories of female photographers and understanding how we can move forward and examine long-held assumptions on the limitations of women in the field.
Please send a 250 word abstract, paper title, and CV to: firstname.lastname@example.org by July 18th. Interested participants are encouraged to send inquiries to the panel organizers, Carrie Cushman (Ph.D., Curatorial Fellow in Photography, The Davis Museum, Wellesley College), Kelly McCormick (Ph.D. Candidate, UCLA) and Maggie Mustard (Senior Research Fellow, New Museum of Contemporary Art) at the above email address.