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the photographically illustrated book in the broadest sense possible: classic bound books, portfolios, personal albums, unpublished books, zines and scrapbooks.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.
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