Listen to an interview about the exhibition here:

In this informative podcast, Women in Photography co-curators Greg Robinson and photographer Linda Wolf provide fascinating insight into the development of photography over the 70-year span between the ages of the photographers in this dynamic show. Evident in the show’s breadth are the changes in photography techniques, processes, types of cameras, and printing materials used by the 10 diverse women from the Puget Sound region chosen for the exhibition: Megumi Shauna Arai, Ashley Armitage, Marsha Burns, C. Davida Ingram, Marilyn Montufar, Janet Neuhauser, Mary Randlett, Meghann Riepenhoff, Heather Boose Weiss, and Linda Wolf. Produced by Bainbridge Community Broadcasting.


The idea for this show evolved over time from conversations between Greg Robinson, chief curator, and Linda Wolf, a noted professional photographer from Bainbridge Island who has been active internationally since the 1960s. The resulting exhibition is a group effort – co-curated by Greg Robinson, Linda Wolf, and Amy Sawyer (BIMA’s curatorial associate).

This group show features ten women artists with several works each:

  • Megumi Shauna Arai
  • Ashley Armitage
  • Marsha Burns
  • C. Davida Ingram
  • Marilyn Montufar
  • Janet Neuhauser
  • Mary Randlett
  • Meghann Riepenhoff
  • Heather Boose Weiss
  • Linda Wolf

All ten artists are from the Puget Sound region and reflect diversity in artistic processes, content, age and ethnicity. Although this exhibit is not comprehensive or reflective of the entire field, it showcases a broad range of ideas and talent. Artistic techniques include traditional darkroom, Polaroid, and digital photography; pinhole camera; “living photographic prints” using cyanotype medium; conceptual filmmaking; interactive installations, and Instagram feeds. The artists range in age from early twenties (Ashley Armitage) to over ninety (Mary Randlett).

Like other art media, photography has historically been male-dominated. In addition, like other arts forms such as ceramics, glass, and jewelry art, it has not always been prominent in the fine art world. Further, the field of photography is changing rapidly. It is integrated with many other forms of art, and new technology has made it so accessible and pervasive that it is influencing our relationships, social norms and structures on many levels.

Linda Wolf addresses the importance of an exhibit highlighting women in photography, “my personal goals as an artist include adding to the ongoing process of empowering women and girls. This exhibition provides women artists a platform for full self-expression, and further establishes cultural norms that include, honor and respect women’s perspectives.”

Greg Robinson notes, “planning Women in Photography has been a learning experience on many levels. Photography has not been our strength at BIMA. We have mounted diverse exhibitions and included photography in several of them, but we have concentrated on other forms of contemporary art and craft. We are excited for BIMA to foster a dialogue about these women artists and their work, and to offer this chance to expand our personal experiences with, and notions of photography.”

Amy Sawyer describes, “the Instagram portion crafts an interactive experience for the viewer about how three photographers use this platform. Featured Instagram Feeds are by Ashley Armitage, Marilyn Montufar, and Megumi Shauna Arai in collaboration with Minh Nguyen (illustrator and writer). Each feed will emphasize a unique view of the artists’ lives through the duration of the exhibit.


 

Co-curator statement

In 1980, a small group of diverse young women photographers, including Carrie Mae Weems (2013 MacArthur Fellows Award recipient), came together in Los Angeles to share our artwork, and in the process co-founded Women in Photography International. WIPI’s goal was to uplift, publish, exhibit, and support women photographers, whether professional or beginners. Thanks to the heroic efforts of Jean Ferro, director of WIPI from 2000 to the present, the WIPI archive is now held at the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University. This is important to mention considering the hidden story of women in photography since it’s inception.

Photography was invented in 1839 by Daguerre, in France, and William Henry Fox Talbot in England. But the truth is that Fox Talbot worked in partnership with his wife, Constance Fox Talbot, who also experimented with the medium, but she was not credited as part of the team. She was not alone, of course. A number of early women in the field developed new processes but were unrecognized in historic records until recent times. Even up to the 20th and 21st Centuries, women’s photographic work has generally been undervalued and scanted in scholarly publications, collections, reviews, exhibits, and historical archives. Many of the photos women made had often been overlooked or thrown away, or discovered later in boxes in attics as in the case of Vivian Maier, a woman who spent nearly half a century taking photos that she never shared with the world.

As an adult, I have spent years doing street and portrait photography worldwide. I’ve noticed that being a woman allows easy intimacy and trust to develop with the people I photograph, especially women. They sense I am not a stranger to their experience and issues. I find many women confide in me about their lives, especially how sexism and male dominance plays out in their culture.

When I approached Greg Robinson, then director and now head curator of BIMA, with the idea of doing a women in photography exhibit, I felt it would be an opportune time, but what has transpired since in the world has fueled an even greater urgency in me.

Exhibiting women’s photographs not only educates and empowers girls and women, it gives us all much to think about and include in our world-views regardless of gender. Advancing and honoring women’s perspectives, women’s imaginations and voices creates new cultural norms and behaviors, and furthers both women’s and men’s enlightenment about the necessity of changing the paradigm from power-over, which is destroying us, to power-with and partnering. The story of women in photography has much to teach us.

—Linda Wolf

 

Exhibition Sponsors:

2017 Summer Exhibition Sponsor Snipe

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