American Women Photographers circa 1900

gk-Gertrude Kasebier-Manger-1899

The Manger. Gertrude Käsebier 1899


Self Portrait. Frances Benjamin Johnston,  1896 

In 1899 a print of the pictorialist photographic work The Manger sold for the then-unheard-of amount of $100. An amazing accomplishment for any photographer, but all the more so when you learn that the photographer who sold that print was a woman, Gertrude Käsebier, who found success at a time when artistic photography was considered mainly to be the domain of men.

Käsebier's photos, though were celebrated in their day by men and women alike for their innovation and daring. However, like many of of her female contemporaries, Käsebier's been all but forgotten over the years.

Back in 1900, though, as one of the leaders in her field, she was included among the 30 American female photographers whose photography was celebrated in an special exhibition at the 1900 Universal Exposition in Paris.  Organized by Frances Benjamin Johnston, a successful photographer in her own right, the exhibition included 200 works by 30 other American women photographers. 

In my lectures about American women photographers circa 1900, I explore the lives, careers and artistic accomplishments of Johnston, Käsebier and the 29 other women whose photos were featured in that seminal 1900 exhibit. We take a look at their struggles and triumphs, and try to understand how they have been left behind in the books that purport to tell the story of American photography. 


Interesting in hiring me to speak on this topic?  Contact me for pricing and availability. 


A version of this lecture was presented in June 2014 at the University of Tübingen: 
Pioneering a Career as a Female Photographer circa 1900
part of the Issues in American Literature and Culture III seminar


All images ©2007-2015  L. Lee McIntyre, unless otherwise noted. No material may be used without permission.