Good travel photography is all about conveying your emotional response to being someplace new.
Sisse Brimberg (1948-)
Ever since its invention back in the 18th century, photography has been documenting life. At the same time, it focuses on inviting audiences to a rather subjective world while trying to be taken seriously as an art form. Photography has always been considered a male-dominated profession, but luckily things are changing. Scholars, writers, bloggers, photography students and enthusiasts have been giving due to the female pioneers of the field. Most of them were always standing and/or hiding in the shadows, oblivious to how much they could acclaim and accomplish. Arguably, the technique, concepts and thematic female photographers use differ from those of a male photographer. At a time when most women were convinced that their place was in the kitchen and certainly not in the darkroom, there were those who were struggling to surpass their male counterparts and work towards gaining respect and recognition for their work.
Sisse Brimberg (Danish photographer, 1948-) attended a photography school in Denmark, before serving as an apprenticeship in a commercial studio. She then ran her own business in Copenhagen for five years, working in advertising. Thanks to a Danish grant, she was able to travel to the United States, where she studied photographic techniques at the National Geographic Society in Washington, D.C. In 1976, she became a National Geographic staff photographer, publishing more than 30 stories, including features on Hans Christian Andersen, the Vikings and ‘Civilized Denmark’. Her photographs of migrant workers earned her the Picture Story of the Year award from the National Press Photographers Association. Through her work with National Geographic, she traveled around the world photographing city stories in Oaxaca, Paris, Casablanca, and Saint Petersburg, among many others. Having photographed in more than 70 countries – and the continent of Antarctica – Brimberg enjoys sharing her love of photography with travelers. She has earned first prize honors from the prestigious Pictures of the Year International (POY), and her images have been exhibited around the world in Germany, Greece, Brazil, Mexico, New York City and Washington, D.C. The award-winning photographer has covered a wide range of subjects, from the Hanseatic League and the Vikings to the global flower trade and the prehistoric cave art of South-western France. When photographing people, Sisse’s approach is very simple; always get really close and make eye contact.
Carol Jerrems (Australian photographer, 1949-1980) was born in Melbourne and completed a Diploma of Art and Design, majoring in Photography, in the newly established photography course at Prahran Technical School. While there, Jerrems was taught by cinematographer Paul Cox and also acted in one of his films. During her studies, she was awarded the Walter Lindrum Scholarship, the Institute of Australian Photographers Award, and the First Prize in the Kodak Students Photographic Competition. Having graduated from Prahran Technical School, Carol undertook a Diploma of Education at Hawthorn State College. In 1971, the director of the first Department of Photography of the National Gallery of Victoria, acquired Jerrem’s work for the gallery’s collection. Jerrems went on to appear in a few more films, before starting teaching at a local school. During her time there, the photographer befriended some disadvantaged students who lived in the 1956 Olympic Village housing commission flats – including a few gang members. She decided to film and photograph them and then published a series of the images in the Melbourne University quarterly magazine. By the time Jerrems was 26 years old, she was teaching photography at Preston Institute, as well as photography, filmmaking and yoga at Coburg Technical School. Simultaneously, she was exhibiting her work in galleries, publishing books and having her photographs included in an Australian Centre for Photography survey. In 1975, Carol moved to Sydney and continued to teach, exhibit her work and conduct workshops. Her 1978 film Hanging About was about rape and it was a finalist in the general section of the Greater Union Awards. Jerrems continued teaching until she was diagnosed with a rare terminal illness. Despite the painful condition, she worked on a photo diary of her prolonged stay in Royal Hobart Hospital and then traveled to Sydney to contribute to the Visual Arts Board photography assessment panel for the Australia Council. In November 1979 she was admitted again to a hospital in Melbourne. She died in February 1980, just before turning 31. Jerrems would photograph in a rather subjective manner while looking to interact with both her subject and their environment. She would challenge herself and her models and that resulted in intimate, powerful portraits. Her life and work have achieved wide recognition through exhibitions and screenings of her films. Her photographs and negatives are archived at the National Gallery of Australia and her work is highlighted in ‘She Persists: Perspectives on Women in Art & Design’ published by the National Gallery of Victoria.
Rape is the hatred, contempt and oppression of women in this society, in one act. It is a symptom of a mass sickness called sexism. This sickness can be cured. In order to change, we have to change.
We will continue talking about female names that left their mark in photography and about contemporary female photographers who are still to emerge. There are a lot of female photographers out there deserving of praise and we can only hope to cover as many of them as we can. Please, follow this space to find out more.