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Feminine Perspective: British Women & Photography during WW1, Norwich
January 17, 2017 @ 12:30 pm - 1:00 pm
Lunchtime talk with Hilary Roberts, research curator of photography, Imperial War Museums, included with normal admission, no need to book.
The contribution of British women to First World War photography has received little attention in comparison to that of later conflicts. This neglect is mostly due to the prevailing assumption that a war photographer must be a professional photojournalist with access to the battlefield and front line combat. However, such a narrow definition renders a proper appreciation of war photography and its practitioners impossible, particularly with regard to the First World War.
A broader definition is certainly important when considering women’s photography during this period. No professional female photojournalist had access to the battlefield or front line combat between 1914 and 1918. However, in the years since its foundation in 1917, IWM has assembled an extensive collection of professional and amateur photography taken by women for official, commercial or private purposes in the First World War. These photographs offer an important account of the general human experience of the war and a unique feminine perspective.
Christina Broom (1862-1939) and Olive Edis (1876-1955) were amongst the first women to build careers as freelance professional photographers in Britain. Both entered professional photography in 1903 in order to earn a living and support their families. Both were well educated by the standards of the day, but were essentially self-taught as photographers. Despite differences in approach and technique, both achieve a combination of formality and subtle intimacy in their photography. – Hilary Roberts