by Boris Friedewald. Prestel, May 2014. 240 p. ill. ISBN 9783791348148 (cl.), $39.95.
Reviewed November 2014
Krista Ivy, Reference and Instruction Librarian, University of California, Riverside, firstname.lastname@example.org
Women Photographers: From Julia Margaret Cameron to Cindy Sherman is a richly-illustrated publication. Arranged alphabetically, each of the fifty-five entries includes a one-page biographical essay, a portrait of the photographer, and reproductions of their work.
Boris Friedewald states in the short introductory essay that the aim of the book is to highlight a variety and diversity of women photographers from photography's history. Well known icons such as Berenice Abbott and Nan Goldin are represented, as well as, lesser known photographers such as Zanele Muholi, Vera Lutter, and Sibylle Bergemann. Curious are the photographers that are missing from the book, such as Annie Leibovitz, Diane Arbus, and Marion Post Wolcott to name a few. With a few exceptions, most of the photographers are European and North American.
This attractive book offers an appealing design with high-quality reproductions. The author provides detailed captions to the images that supplement the essay. Additional details concerning the illustrations such as size and material can be found in a list of images in the back of the book.
Unfortunately, the book does not include citation references. This is problematic for those interested in identifying any of the thought-provoking quotes or wishing to follow the author's line of research. Although there is a brief bibliography, regrettably the citations are incomplete and do not include the publisher's name. Also, missing from the book is an index that might allow the reader to draw connections between the photographers.
The book's strength is in the generous illustrations and succinct format, not its scholarly contribution to the history of photography. There is no mention of the author's credentials or authority in this area. What is disappointing is the choice to illustrate the cover with a photograph by a man and not one of the women photographers.
This book will appeal to a popular audience and is appropriate for those with little to no knowledge of the history of photography. For those interested in a scholarly survey of women in the history of photography, they should consult Naomi Rosenblum's A History of Women Photographers (2010). Recommended for public libraries and general collections.