Rebecca Phillips Abbott will lecture on this topic: “Woman, Machine, and Gendered Style Cross-Currents in Photography, 1850 – 1925.”
Rebecca Phillips Abbott is the former director of the National Museum of Women in the Arts, and founding director and curator of the Carnegie Arts Center in Turlock, California. She has served as curatorial liaison to the Vatican Museums for the Pope John Paul II Cultural Center and as editor of Defining Why, the autobiography of textile artist, Yvonne Porcella. She is also a fine art photographer with works in private and public collections.
Photography as a genre has a reputation for including women from its inception in the mid-nineteenth century. In comparison to female artists of painting and sculpture, for example, we today know the names of many more women photographers, such as Julia Margaret Cameron, Dorothea Lange, Diane Arbus, and Cindy Sherman. As this talk highlights, the ways in which women were “included,” especially in the formative years of photography is actually quite gendered. One example includes George Eastman’s Kodak Girl, introduced as a marketing tool in 1893, as a way of demonstrating that his new camera was so easy to work that even a woman could do it. Women did use the Kodak as well as other cameras, yet numerous histories still leave out the works of women photographers. This talk addresses some of these omissions and also examines ways that photography styles tended to be gendered.