by National Geographic
Women of Vision is a beautifully printed coffee table book accompanying a curated exhibition. It features the work of eleven National Geographic photographers who also happen to be women.
The women included are Amy Toensing, Stephanie Sinclair, Diane Cook, Maggie, Steber, Jodi Cobb, Erika Larsen, Beverly Joubert, Lynn Johnson, Lynsey Addario, Carolyn Drake, and Kitra Cahana.
Each woman is introduced with a beautiful portrait and a short biography and an inspirational quote that sums up her thinking about photography. Amy Toensing for instance says:
The essence of photography is getting what’s inside your heart out into the photograph.
A selection of each woman’s work follows with a short overview of the project or story she was working on for National Geographic. The stories give an insight into National Geographic over the years and the choice of stories these women chose to pursue.
The book’s focus is primarily on the photographs. The selections provide an look into the National Geographic world through the eyes of a woman. Some of the women have been with the magazine since the 1970s when it was much more difficult for a woman to make her way as a photo journalist. A few of the women like Lynn Johnson chronicle early struggles. After initial struggles with being taken seriously as a woman, Jodi Cobb notes,
While preparing for an assignment on Saudi Arabian women, ‘a lightbulb went on.’ Cobb recognized her advantage as a woman, for she was the only one of her colleagues who could gain access to her closely guarded subjects.
The book celebrates women photographers, but as photo editor Elizabeth Cheng Krist notes in the Curator’s Note:
I cannot look at a photograph and tell you whether it was shot by a woman or by a man. But I do know that the women whose work appears in these pages exemplify the kind of storytellers we need as we move deeper into this insatiably media-hungry age: journalists with relentless curiosity who bring us memorable stories full of meaningful insights and surprises.
We can all strive to tell meaningful stories through our photography.
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