I have always worked with actions; I create a situation and let things happen. I conceive a scenario to provoke moments. Photography allows you to think about situations and to let something happen.
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.
Ana Casas Broda (Mexican photographer, 1965-) was born in Spain to an Austrian mother and a Spanish father. She spent her early years traveling back and forth between the two countries. In 1974 she moved to Mexico City with her mother, where she studied photography, painting, and history.
Between 1989 and 1993 she lived in Vienna and Madrid. She returned to Mexico in 1993, though until her grandmother's death in 2002 she spent long periods caring for her in Vienna. Since 1991 Broda has exhibited individually in Europe and Mexico, as well as participated in group exhibitions in various countries. She has received various accolades as well as financial support for her projects both in Mexico and Austria.
From 2007 to 2011 she was a member of the National System of Art Creators through the Mexican National Fund for Culture and the Arts (FONCA). For 14 years the photographer worked on the project Album, beginning with a series of images of her grandmother. In 2000 the Spanish publishing house Mestizo published Album as a book, which was later presented as a solo exhibition in Mexico, Madrid, and other venues. Album was also recently presented as a solo show at the VISIONA Festival Narrativas Domésticas. Broda worked on the project Kinderwunsch from 2006 to 2013 and finally published it as a book in 2013. In 2014, Kinderwunsch received the second award for Best Art Book published in 2013 by the Ministerio de Educación, Cultura y Deporte in Spain.
In addition to developing her own body of photographic work since 1990, Ana has been dedicated to organizing photography-related activities, such as seminars, workshops, meetings, conferences, etc. In 1994, she founded the workshop department of Centro de la Imagen, which was under her coordination until 2008. She then built a program that consisted of over three hundred workshops per year at every level of learning, from Photography for Beginners to specialized seminars in various fields.
From 2007 to 2015 Borda was in charge of designing the academic program for the Contemporary Photography Seminar at Centro de la Imagen and mentoring students in collaboration with other artists and professors. In 2012, Ana together with Gerardo Montiel Klint and Gabriela González Reyes co-founded Hydra, a platform created to generate photography-related projects. In June 2015 Broda was a member of the jury of the PHotoEspaña Award for the Best Photobook of the Year and was invited as part of the advisors committee from the publishing house La Fábrica, in Spain. Her book Reveal and Detonate is presented at The Mint Museum as part of the program INFOCUS /EN FOCO, organized by Allen Blevins.
Since 2013 she has been working on various educational programs at HYDRA + FOTOGRAFÍA, including INCUBADORA DE FOTOLIBROS. In 2017 she was the curator of the exhibition FOAM X HYDRA at FOAM, in Amsterdam, and also co-curated the exhibition Draft of An Intervened Body with Gisela Volá. In 2018 Ana presented the solo show KINDERWUNSCCH at ENFOQUE Festival, at the Museo Regional de Querétaro. She also exhibited KINDERWUNSCH at the exhibition LO ÍNITIMO Y LO PÚBLICO. Throughout her entire career, Ana Casas Broda has managed to develop a distinctive style, mostly known for its intimacy, realism, personal themes, and playful iconic experimentation. Her most precious tools are perhaps her imagination and own personal experiences, which always lead her to depict and illustrate filial devotion, self-appreciation, and parenthood.
Every year I would go to Vienna to visit my grandmother. When I went to live with her in order to take pictures together, I discovered that the complicity between the two of us had its origin in photography. It was then when my grandmother gave me the camera she had used for over fifty years.
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.