Feminism should mean to critically reconsider and deconstruct the binary organization of our culture which causes racism and sexism.
Ever since its invention back in the 19th 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 techniques, concepts, and thematic female photographers use differ from those of male photographers. At a time when most women were convinced that their place was in the kitchen and certainly not in the dark room, there were those who were struggling to surpass their male counterparts and work towards gaining respect and recognition for their work.
Claudia Reinhardt (German photographer, 1964-) studied at the School of the Arts (Hochschule für bildende Künste) in Hamburg with German artist Bernhard Johannes Blume. During this time she founded the art magazine Neid with visual artist Ina Wudtke. Until 1996 she worked as co-editor of Neid and wrote texts and took photos on the subject of feminist gender issues - both for Neid and for other publications. Thanks to a DAAD fellowship and a fellowship from the city of Hamburg, Reinhardt spent a year in the U.S.A. She lived in Los Angeles and New York and traveled in Mexico. She has lived and worked as an artist in Berlin since 1997. Since 2000 she has held the position of Associate Professor at the National Art Academie in Bergen, Norway. Her works have been shown in several group and solo exhibitions in Germany and abroad. Two books of her artwork have been published in German and English: Killing Me Softly - Todesarten (Berlin: Aviva Verlag, 2004) and No Place Like Home (Berlin: Verbrecher Verlag, 2005). Killing Me Softly - Todesarten is a series of ten photographs depicting the suicides of ten female artists, with Claudia Reinhardt as the model for all of them. No Place Like Home is a series of 25 photographs based on the town, Viernheim, where the artist grew up. Reinhardt was a featured artist in Global Feminisms at the Brooklyn Museum, curated by Maura Reilly and Linda Nochlin. As an artist, Reinhardt works with photography, video, and text. Her images are mostly strictly staged and narrative and she often uses herself as the model. It's obvious in her work that Reinhardt wants to fixate on individual histories and experiences of women, while - at the same time - she wants to focus on the sustained and urgent fight for larger political goals of equal rights and anti-discrimination.
For me it was 'natural' to deal with my identity, which is an identity as a white female, living in a western, heteronormative society - a fact that irritated and confused me enough at that time.
We will continue talking about female names that left their mark on 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.