Monday, May 17, 2010

Female Photography Possesses Deep Roots

The art that would evolve into female photography was born alongside the handheld camera. Eastman invented the simple camera that anyone could use in the late 1800s. By 1893, he introduced an icon to popular photography: the Kodak Girl. The Kodak Girl epitomized the beauty, elegance and freedom illustrating female photography. She was fashionable, young, vibrant and independent. She appeared in numerous ads and with her inspiration, generations of women discovered new avenues of art, careers and personal entertainment with female photography.

The Kodak Girl traveled the world, snapping pictures anywhere and everywhere. Achievement in female photography includes notable photographer Anne Leibovitz. Born in 1949, Leibovitz's career in photography includes numerous photographs in Rolling Stone Magazine. Leibovitz photographed John Lennon and Yoko Ono in one of the more famous photographs of the couple. She is also famous for the cover of the nude Demi Moore covered in body paint.

Before Leibovitz, there was Dorothea Lange. Born in 1895, Lange's contributions to the world of photography included her black and white, stark portrayals of the depression and World War II Japanese relocation camps. Her photographs depicted the plight of the Depression for everyone to see. Her images inspired individuals to help where they could as well as getting agencies, the government and otherwise to do what they could to help. In the world of photography, Lange is widely known for her talent, perseverance and honest visuals of her subjects. Lange is an icon in both female photography and photography in general.

Female photography is as much about the women who take the photographs as well as the subjects of the photographs. There is a passion and distinctly different feel to a photograph that allows others to see a snapshot of the world through a woman's eyes. Leibovitz and Lange were totally different women, photographing different eras as well as different types of subjects. Their messages were different, but the passion for their work they held in common.

It would be ridiculous to compare photographs of the Depression to photographs of well-known rock and roll personalities, but they are both uniquely symbolic of the art that is female photography. The art of female photography traces its roots to Eastman's Kodak Girl and its lineage through women such as Lange and Leibovitz. There await new challenges, photographs and points of view for female photography in the 21st century.