Women Photographers
From History to Here

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This is a panel discussion exploring the lives and works of women photographers and ways in which they have developed their careers and networks. This is a joint panel between University of the Arts London (UAL) and Fast Forward research project based at University for the Creative Arts (UCA)

Prof. Anna Fox

Artist / Professor of Photography
University for the Creative Arts (UCA)
UK


 

Anna Fox is an acclaimed British photographer and Professor of Photography at University for the Creative Arts. Working in colour, Fox first gained attention for Work Stations(1988), a study of office culture in Thatcher’s Britain. She is best known for Zwarte Piet (1993-8), a series of portraits exploring Dutch black-face’ folk traditions. Other projects The Village (1992), a multi-media installation examines the experiences of rural women, and Friendly Fire, records paint-balling in war reportage style. Her publications include Cockroach Diary and My Mother’s Cupboards (2000), Anna Fox Photographs 1983 – 2007, published by Photoworks.

Fox’s solo shows include Photographer’s Gallery, London, Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago amongst others. Her work has been in international group shows including Centre of the Creative Universe: Liverpool and the Avant Garde at Tate Liverpool and How We Are: Photographing Britain at Tate Britain. She was shortlisted for the 2010 Deutsche Borse Prize. Fox has been awarded grants from UKIERI and PMI2 for collaborative work in India and in 2015 was lead organizer for the Fast Forward conference at Tate Modern. In  2016 she was awarded an International Network grant from the Leverhulme Foundation for the Fast Forward 2 project concerned with raising the profile of women in photography.

Prof Karen Knorr ,UK

Prof. Karen Knorr

[ Panelist ]

Artist / Professor of Photography
University for the Creative Arts (UCA)
UK

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Prof. Val Williams

[ Panelist ]

Professor of Photography and Culture
Co-editor, Journal of Photography and Culture
University of the Arts London (UAL)
UK

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Christine Redmond

[ Panelist ]

Photographer
Dublin,
Ireland

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Chinar Shah

[ Panelist ]

Artist / Faculty, Coordinator of Photography Discipline,
Srishti Institute of Art,
Design and Technology.
Independent artist.
India

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Discussion Topics


Introducing the work of Fast Forward; Women in Photography a networking project which aims to foster new knowledge and understanding about women photographers across the globe. The project has held 2 conferences in collaboration with UAL, Tate Modern and National Gallery of Art in Lithuania and gained a research award from the Leverhulme Trust to develop an international network for women photographers. This paper will discuss the ideas emerging from a series of international workshops held between 2016 and 2019, held in Nigeria, India, Brazil US, Finland and UK . These workshops facilitated discussion between those involved in the business of photography and photographers to discuss the issues connected to networking and to present new knowledge about women photographers.

Knorr will be exploring new perspectives on documentary practice by contemporary women in photography who exhibit their work internationally. After “the decisive moment” which became the canon in post Second World War II photography new practices have emerged using methods from conceptual art such as scale, the series and image/ text. Diverse strategies are being deployed including sound, video and three dimensional objects. These methods have expanded the field of documentary adding a subjective and poetic element that challenges the spectator’s fixed position. Knorr will be discussing recent work by Gauri Gill (India) Esther Teichmann( U.K)  and Milagros de la Torre ( Peru) and Claudia Andujar (Brazil).

In the early 20th century, Photography was widely regarded as a career for women, particularly in the extensive studio portraiture industry, but also in photojournalism, war reportage and art photography. After the end of WW2, the situation changed, and there were many fewer women active in photographic practice. Only in the 1980s did women begin to realign themselves within photography, with the rise of feminism and a gradual increase in numbers of women studying the medium. A photography career in 2019 is very different to the opportunities identified in the early 20th century. The emergence of social media has allowed women to promote their work without the need for patronage, and the proliferation of festivals, calls for work and self-publishing has had an important effect. Women now outnumber men as students of photography in Northern Europe and the US, but little research has been done to establish their career trajectories. This paper will explore the status of photography as a ‘career for women’ by use of histories and contemporary case studies.

It is in recent years with the introduction of degree courses in photography in 2006 that women have been well represented in Irish photography. My presentation focuses on the work of one photographer Miriam O’Connor who returned to work and live on the family farm following a bereavement in 2013.  Drawing inspiration from the language, sights and sounds of the everyday, her photographic practice frequently engages with matters which reflect her everyday surroundings and contemplates the manner in which this persuasive medium permeates the way we engage with the world around us.  O’Connor positions photography as a tool for posing questions, a medium in itself that commands interrogation.  Her projects have explored themes around looking and seeing: the relationship between camera and subject and the complex nature of photographic representation.

India is one of the largest growing economies rapidly changing urban landscape that has significant impact on socio-cultural fabric. It is also the biggest democracy in the world that is witnessing huge political shifts affecting women’s lives through major policy changes that would impact women’s autonomy over their bodies.  It is these two vital things, alongside their interest in women’s lives, that have led photographer Anna Fox and artist Chinar Shah to collaborate on a photography project using images and text to provoke discussion and reveal new knowledge about the dilemmas in women’s lives in India today. Using images of billboards where women are being used to promote goods to the aspirational middle class and the interiors of show homes that have been designed (largely by men) as domestic spaces to be occupied and managed largely by women together with texts derived from a series of interviews with women living in India, Fox and Shah aim to break open modern myths surrounding aspirational dream culture of India’s middle class. This paper will introduce new work from the project and analyse the mechanisms that work to fabricate meaning in the combining of text and image.

Date: 13th February 2020 

Audience: All Conference Participants