PHSNE’s May 2021 Zoom meeting will host Dr. Nicole Hudgins, associate professor of history and art history at the University of Baltimore (UB) and author of The Gender of Photography: How Masculine and Feminine Values Shaped the History of Nineteenth-Century Photography. Her presentation will begin at 7:30 PM EDT on Sunday, May 2, 2021.
It would be unthinkable now to omit early female pioneers from any survey of photography’s history in the Western world. Yet for many years the gendered language of American, British and French photographic literature made it appear that women’s interactions with early photography did not count as significant contributions. Using photo journals, cartoons, art criticism, novels, and Victorian career guides, The Gender of Photography shows why and how early photographic institutions insisted on masculine values and authority, and how women engaged with photography despite that dominant trend.
Focusing on the period before 1890, when most women in the West had yet to develop the self-assurance that would lead to broader recognition of the value of their work, this study probes the mechanisms by which exclusion took place and explores how women practiced photography anyway, both as amateurs and professionals. The Gender of Photography does not simply challenge the marginalization of women’s work in the early history of photography. It goes further, to offer a way of recognizing both the “femininity” and the “masculinity” of photography, arguing that both ways of thinking about the medium have equal importance. Several chapters focus on what is called (or not called) men’s photography and public discourse during the same period.
The book contains nearly 100 illustrations and an index that includes all the names of pre-1900 women who used the camera or photographs in their work and who came to Hudgins’ attention during research. It is essential reading for students and scholars of photography, history and gender studies.
Hudgins has published several articles on the history of photography, and her first book, Hold Still, Madame: Wartime Gender and the Photography of Women in France during the Great War, is an open-access volume in the collection of St. Andrews University’s Centre for French History and Culture. She is currently researching a digital photo history project.
Additional biographical information on Nicole Hudgins can be found in the University faculty directory.
The Gender of Photography is available on Amazon and direct from the publisher Routledge in paperback.