A Space for Books — Nieuwe Herengracht 11 Amsterdam


What They Saw: Historical Photobooks by Women , 1843-1999 A Hands-on Reading Room Exhibition

With the first photographically illustrated book self-published by British botanist Anna Atkins in 1843, women have consistently contributed to the rich history of photobooks. However, their contributions have not always been recognized. The What They Saw Reading Room showcases this history and shares both historically significant and under-appreciated photobooks by women. Presenting a diverse geographic and ethnic selection, the photobooks included interpret the concept of the photographically illustrated book in the broadest sense possible: classic bound books, portfolios, personal albums, unpublished books, zines and scrapbooks. Some of the books documented are well-known publications such as Anna Atkins’ Photographs of British Algae: Cyanotype Impressions (1843–53), Germaine Krull’s Métal (1928) and Diane Arbus: An Aperture Monograph (1972), while other books may be relatively unknown, such as Varvara Stepanova’s Groznyi smekh. Okna Rosta (1932), Eslanda Cardozo Goode Robeson’s African Journey (1945), and Ruiko Yoshida’s Harlem: Black Angels (1974). The glaring gaps and omissions in current photobook history are apparent through this overview, particularly the lack of access, support, and funding for photobooks by non-Western women and women of color. The award-winning What They Saw: Historical Photobooks by Women, 1843-1999 publication, edited by Russet Lederman and Olga Yatskevich, and designed by Ayumi Higuchi, accompanies the exhibition and is available for purchase at Enter Enter.

Public Talks

Friday, 16 September at 5:30 pm / Rijksmuseum Library
Unseen VIP event. Advance registration required through the Unseen VIP portal.
Mattie Boom, curator of photography at the Rijksmuseum and Alex Alsemgeest, librarian at the Rijksmuseum Library will discuss photobooks by women in the museum library’s collection.
Saturday, 17 September at 3 pm / Enter Enter
What They Saw co-editor Russet Lederman and designer Ayumi Higuchi will discuss the project’s development from a design perspective.

About 10×10 Photobooks
10×10 Photobooks is a community-oriented organization that champions risk-taking creativity through a focus on marginalized, emerging and established photographers and photobook histories. Founded in 2012, 10×10 is a leader in the photobook field, supporting diversity and exchange through public photobook events, including reading rooms, salons, publications, grants and partnerships with arts organizations. 10x10photobooks.org



11 — What They Saw: Historical Photobooks by Women, 1843-1999 A Hands-on Reading Room Exhibition

10 September until 23 October 2022


10 — Fabrikbooks: The Artists as Publishers + The Danish Reading Room

17 June — 17 July 2022


09 — Jochen Lempert, Paare / Pairs

13 May — 4 June 2022


08 — On The Self-Reflexive Page

11 December 2021 — 20 February 2022


07 — Bertien van Manen, Archive 1970-2021

29 October — 28 November 2021


06 — Japan Works and Other Books by Aglaia Konrad

September 11 — 10 October 2021


05 — Stephan Keppel, Soft Copy Hard Copy

11 January — 11 April 2021


04 — Printed Matter’s NY Art Book Fair, ROOM C

3 September — 3 October 2020


03 — Read Books, Buy Books, Buy Local

Spring/Summer 2020


02 — TEST PRESS, 20 Years of Student Publications 1999-2019

25 January — 29 February 2020


01 — Karel Martens, Re-Printed Matter, 60 Years of Books

26 October— 20 December 2019


00 — Mark Nagtzaam ‘Regular Features’ and Mark Manders ‘Notional Newspapers’

29 June — 1 August 2019