Photography – A Feminist History: How Women Shaped the Art by Emma Lewis

Groundbreaking photography book that tells the story of women and non-binary photographers from the 1800s to the present day

From the fashion studio to the front line, social justice movements to selfies, women have transformed photography at every stage in its short history. For some, gender is front and center of their work, for others it’s beside the point. All are affected by the power structures beyond their lenses. Far too many are overlooked. (

In ten thematic, chronological sections, Tate Modern curator Emma Lewis explores the vital role women artists have played in shaping the ever-evolving medium of photography. Lewis has compiled work from more than 200 different women and nonbinary photographers along with short essays on 75 different artists, many informed by her interviews with the subjects. Photography – A Feminist History explores how women’s rights and societal attitudes to gender across the world have shaped those who have become photographers, the kinds of work they have made, and how their stories have been written – and rewritten – over time. Mapping photography’s history against gender-based rights, social justice movements, and shifting cultural norms, it shines a light on the factors that have motivated, supported and inhibited women and non-binary photographers from the 1800s to the present day.

How did the abolitionist movement impact women’s entry into the field? What does photography have to do with laws around menstrual rights? Is there even such a thing as a “feminist image”?

International in scope, Photography – A Feminist History includes the work of over 200 photographers, both established and lesser known, with thematic essays and extended texts on 75 practitioners, many compiled from interviews with the author.

The artists profiled here include:

• Sheila Pree Bright
• Imogen Cunningham
• Paz Errázuriz
• Nan Goldin
• Kati Horna
• Mari Katayama
• Dora Maar
• Lee Miller
• Tina Modotti
• Zanele Muholi
• Shirin Neshat
• Cindy Sherman
• Lieko Shiga
• Lorna Simpson
• Amalia Ulman
• And more!

Photography – A Feminist History is published by Ilex Press/Tate and is out now.

Photos courtesy of Ilex Press/Tate, Emma Lewis, and original photographers.