Women Street Photographers: The Web Site, Instragram Account & Book That Amplify the Work of Women Artists Worldwide

It’s almost impos­si­ble not to won­der how reclu­sive artists of the past — like anony­mous street pho­tog­ra­ph­er and Chica­go nan­ny Vivian Maier — would fare in the age of Tum­blr and Insta­gram. Would Maier have become inter­net famous? Would she have post­ed any of her pho­tographs? The lit­tle we know about her makes it hard to answer the ques­tion. Maier lived a life of abstemious self-nega­tion. “She nev­er exhib­it­ed her work,” Alex Kot­lowitz writes at Moth­er Jones, “she didn’t share her pho­tos with any­one, except some of the chil­dren in her care.”

And yet, Maier was known to enjoy con­ver­sa­tions about film and the­ater with knowl­edge­able peo­ple. One sus­pects that if she had been able to stay in touch with like minds, she might have been encour­aged by a sup­port­ive com­mu­ni­ty she couldn’t find any­where else. We might imag­ine her, for exam­ple, sub­mit­ting a select few pho­tographs to Women Street Pho­tog­ra­phers, a project that began in 2017 as an Insta­gram account and has since “bur­geoned into a web­site, artist res­i­den­cy, series of exhi­bi­tions, film series, and now a book pub­lished this month by Pres­tel,” Grace Ebert writes at Colos­sal.

For women street pho­tog­ra­phers liv­ing and work­ing today, the project offers what founder Gul­nara Samoilo­va says she need­ed and couldn’t find: “I soon began to real­ize that with this plat­form, I could cre­ate every­thing I had always want­ed to receive as a pho­tog­ra­ph­er: the kinds of sup­port and oppor­tu­ni­ties that would have helped me grow dur­ing those for­ma­tive and piv­otal points on my jour­ney.” The project is inter­na­tion­al in scope, bring­ing togeth­er the work of 100 women from 31 coun­tries, “a tiny sam­pling of what’s out there.”

In her intro­duc­tion to the 224-page book, Samoilo­va describes the impor­tance of such a col­lec­tion:

Street pho­tog­ra­phy is both a record of the world and a state­ment of the artist them­selves: it is how they see the world, who they are, what cap­tures their atten­tion, and fas­ci­nates them. There’s a won­der­ful mix­ture of art and arti­fact, poet­ry and tes­ti­mo­ny that makes street pho­tog­ra­phy so appeal­ing. It’s both doc­u­men­tary and fine art at the same time, yet high­ly acces­si­ble to peo­ple out­side the pho­tog­ra­phy world.

There are Vivian Maiers around the world dri­ven to doc­u­ment their sur­round­ings, whether any­one ever sees their work or not. Maier made her pho­tographs “for all the right rea­sons,” says Chica­go artist Tony Fitz­patrick. “She made them because to not make them was impos­si­ble. She had no choice.” But per­haps she might have cho­sen to show her work if she had access to plat­forms like Women Street Pho­tog­ra­phers. We can be grate­ful for such out­lets now: they offer per­spec­tives that we can find nowhere else. Women Street Pho­tog­ra­phers will announce the win­ners of its inau­gur­al vir­tu­al exhi­bi­tion “on or around April 1.”

via Colos­sal

Relat­ed Con­tent: 

Meet Ger­da Taro, the First Female Pho­to­jour­nal­ist to Die on the Front Lines

Take a Visu­al Jour­ney Through 181 Years of Street Pho­tog­ra­phy (1838–2019)

Vivian Maier, Street Pho­tog­ra­ph­er, Dis­cov­ered

Josh Jones is a writer and musi­cian based in Durham, NC. Fol­low him at @jdmagness

by | Permalink | Comments (0) |

Sup­port Open Cul­ture

We’re hop­ing to rely on our loy­al read­ers rather than errat­ic ads. To sup­port Open Cul­ture’s edu­ca­tion­al mis­sion, please con­sid­er mak­ing a dona­tion. We accept Pay­Pal, Ven­mo (@openculture), Patre­on and Cryp­to! Please find all options here. We thank you!

Leave a Reply

Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.