EYE CANDY

A Rare Look Back at the Earliest Women in Photography

Margaret Bourke-White in a black-and-white self-portrait
Gift of Ludmila and Bruce Dandrew from The Ludmila Dandrew and Chitranee Drapkin Collection

These days, the idea of singling out a group so broad as “women photographers” sounds passé. In fact, you’re likely able to name at least a couple—Diane Arbus or Cindy Sherman, anyone?—off the top of your head. But it’s worth remembering that, for well over a century, this wasn’t the case. Not that women weren’t taking photographs, (and good ones at that); their talent wasn’t getting the recognition it deserved, and indeed still barely is today. “Women’s Work: A Survey of Female Photographers,” an exhibition on view at Florida’s Museum of Fine Arts through September 11, aims to correct that wrong. It took a full 150 years, for example, for a museum to acknowledge that the work of Julia Margaret Cameron, a pioneering 19th-century photographer, merited an exhibition. And while you may have come across her name since the V&A stepped up to the plate, you’re not alone if you aren’t familiar with some of the ones that follow. Get a taste of their little-known legacies with a look inside the show, below.

Courtesy of the Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg

Julia Margaret Cameron, Blessing and Blessed, 1865.

NEA & FACF Photography Purchase Grant

Imogen Cunningham, Water Hyacinth 2, c. 1925.

Gift of Ludmila and Bruce Dandrew from The Ludmila Dandrew and Chitranee Drapkin Collection

Zaida Ben-Yusuf, Portrait of a Young Woman, 1900.

Gift of Terry P. Loebel Family

Ilse Bing, Chairs, Champs-Elysees, Paris, 1931.

Gift of Miss Mina Turner, artist's granddaughter

Gertrude Käsebier, Happy Days, 1902.

Gift of Ludmila and Bruce Dandrew from The Ludmila Dandrew and Chitranee Drapkin Collection

Margaret Bourke-White, Self-Portrait, 1931.

Photo by Barbara Morgan

Barbara Morgan, Torso, 1936.

Gift of Dr. John Schloder in honor of Terence S. Leet and the Museum's 50th Anniversary

Marion Post Wolcott, Picnic on Running Board, 1941.