Mexico's Women Photographers: the key features in their work

A woman has always been an inevitable part of art, even though history lacks evidence of her participation in creation of most of its forms. In fact, female artists have always stayed in the shadow of their male colleagues fame. For many years, women were suppressed because of gender by male artists, and their artworks were underestimated or even considered as good for nothing. As a result, new generations of women knew almost nothing about achievements of previous female artists and felt unassured. This circle of ignorance of womens history and omnipresent dominance of men kept female artists from becoming recognized. Luckily, in the 20th century, the world finally witnessed the rise of a great number of outstanding and internationally renowned female artists. Photography, in particular, has become one of the main fields in which the battle for fairness took place. Nowadays, people should know the most outstanding Mexican women photographers and the key features of their works in order to understand development of photography as a form of art and the history of Mexican society.

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At first sight, it may seem that Mexican female photographers gained an important place in photography as they participated in photo making from the very beginning of this form of art. Before the success of feminism, the majority of female photographers were denied to exhibit their works because of their gender. The main task of feminist artists was to change the world around them with the help of their talent, altering the historical canon of fine arts and modifying social interactions between genders. Their works represent the struggle of ordinary women to gain gender equality and share their experience of fighting against suppressive social norms with the world. Feminist artists worked hard to change the policies of different institutions that were established years ago and made female artists invisible within the art world. The art of feminists created brand new opportunities for women artists that were never previously available for them and other minority artists. However, most people do not know about the importance of female artists contribution not only to the development of all forms of art, including photography, but also to such historical achievements as equality of sexes, for instance, in Mexico.

Mexicos women photographers played an important role in the development of picture taking art and stood for gender equality that was expressed in their works. In fact, female photographers founded some of the first photographic studious in Mexico and played an important part in the increase of production. In the beginning, the first Mexican women photographers worked primarily in documentary and portraiture styles. Years later, avant-garde gained its popularity, opening new horizons for the sake of expression of authors ideas, and women photographers contributed a lot to its development. Then female humanists, who depicted native people of Mexico in their works, emerged, making a significant contribution to the countrys history by preserving its indigenous past. Among the most outstanding Mexican female photographers are Lola Alvarez Bravo, who was the first woman to organize her own exhibition, Kati Horna, the author of amazing surreal ideas, Graciela Iturbide, a feminist also known for documental photos of villages, and Blanca Charolet, the first photojournalist hired by a newspaper in Mexico among many other women artists of note. The importance of the works of Mexican female photographers should not be underestimated, as the visibility of contemporary women artists in a creative world has been won by them.

 
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It is important to familiarize with the most outstanding Mexican women photographers and the key features of their works in order to understand development of photography as a form of art, as well as to explore the history of Mexican society. It was not an easy path for women photographers to become equally treated as their male colleagues. Thus, contemporary people do not have to forget about these gifted women and their works in order not to lose the connection with the history of nation and humankind in general, as well as not to continue to reinvent the wheel.

Annotated Bibliography

The Art Story Foundation. (n.d.). Feminist art movement. The Art Story Foundation. Retrieved from http://www.theartstory.org/movement-feminist-art.htm

The article covers the topic of feminist art movement. It offers its readers to find out about the movements synopsis, its key points and most important artworks. The article reveals a useful material as it summarizes the history of feminist art movement and presents all the needed information in short. The Art Story Foundation is a reliable source as it is presented by researchers and professors of art. The source can be helpful in making ones presentation of historical background for the works of female photographers, as well as in understanding of their key features.

Warren, L. (Ed.). (2006). Encyclopedia of twentieth-century photography (Vol. 1). New York, NY: Routledge.

The author of the encyclopedia explores photography of the twentieth century on international level, as well as elucidates historical event that shaped it. Warren discusses the most famous female photographers from different countries as well as key features of their works. The book includes information about such Mexicos female photographers as Tina Modotti, Lola Alvarez Bravo and Kati Horna among others. It is a reliable source of historical information and art analysis. The book complements the research by enriching it with useful data.

Hooks, M. (2000). Tina Modotti: Radical photographer. Boston, MA: Da Capo Press.

The author presents biography of Tina Modotti, focusing primarily on her art and passion for radical politics. The book presents historical background of her works. It is a useful source as it helps the readers to understand Modottis photography and its key features better. Hookss book is a reliable source of information, as it is an award-winning biography.

Tejada, R. (2009). National camera: Photography and Mexico's image environment. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota.

The author presents a comprehensive study of Mexican photographers and their works from the origin of this form of art to our time. The book also covers the topic of social inequality, feminism and sexuality among many other key features of Mexican photo-based artists. It is a reliable and useful source that can serve as a basis for the research paper.

Folgarait, L. (2008). Seeing Mexico photographed: The work of Horne, Casasola, Modotti, and ?lvarez Bravo. London: Yale University Press.

The author presents and discusses the works of four photographers engaged in Mexican Revolution (Modotti, Casasola, Horne, and Alvarez Bravo) and their role in preserving historical past of the country. Folgarait analyzes not only objectiveness of reporting, but the deepness of artistic expression in these photographs. It is an informative source for the one who is interested in Mexican photographers, as well as in Tina Modotti and her works in particular.

Foster, D. W. (2014). Argentine, Mexican, and Guatemalan photography: Feminist, queer, and post-masculinist perspectives. Austin, TX: The University of Texas Press.

The author presents in-depth analysis of the works of different Latin American photographers from gendered perspective. Foster discovers connections between historical and social contexts and photographs. The author overviews the photography project of Daniella Rossell entitled Rich and Famous, in which she depicts lives of wealthy Mexican women, and Graciela Iturbides series of photographs Juchitan de Las Mujeres,presenting the Zapotec culture and their attitudes toward the role of women, life and death. The book is worthwhile, informative and reliable source.

Hine, H. (2000). Graciela Iturbide. BOMB, 70, 46-49.

The author analyzes key features in the works of Graciela Iturbide. The article is written by an artist about another artist, which makes it unique. It is helpful for those who want to understand the hidden meaning behind Iturbides photos of plants that may seem simple at first sight.

Debroise, O. (2001). Mexican suite: A history of photography in Mexico. Austin, TX: The University of Texas Press.

Debroisepresents a comprehensive survey of picture taking art in Mexico. The book covers a long period of time from the first daguerreotype to the modern photograph. The author discovers the role of women photographers in culture of Mexico. It is a useful English source of information on the subject of Mexican photography and history.

Ferrer, E. (1994). Lola ?lvarez Bravo: A modernist in Mexican photography. History of Photography, 18(3), 211-218.

Ferrer describes Lola ?lvarez Bravos life, her achievements and influence on Mexican photography. The author points out progressiveness of the photographers approach to her works: the use of constructed imagery and photomontage that were not characteristic of Mexican photo art of that time. The article is an informative source that enriches ones knowledge of Lola ?lvarez Bravos works and her struggle for recognition as a Mexican female photographer.

Ratliff, J. L. (2012). Visualizing female agency: Space and gender in contemporary women's art in Mexico (Doctoral dissertation). Retrieved from ProQuest. 3531429.

The author focuses on contemporary female artists of Mexico, their works and social, economic and political influence on them. Ratliff analyzes the photography of Daniela Rossell through a feminist perspective, as well as the way these works challenge gender roles, hierarchy and definition of femininity. The dissertation is an in-depth study of contemporary Mexican female artists, which is definitely worth reading.

Morgan, T. A. (2012). A 'Living Art': Working-Class, Transcultural, and Feminist Aesthetics in the United States, Mexico, and Algeria, 1930s (Doctoral dissertation). Retrieved from University of Massachusetts Amherst. 590.

The author presents a study of the works of female photographers, painters and writers of Mexico, the United States and Algeria, as well as their gender, class and political context. Morgan analyzes the photography of Tina Modotti through transnational, feminist and socioeconomic perspectives. The dissertation is helpful in terms of its informative content concerning Modotti and her works.

Serge, E. (2005, January 1). The hermeneutics of the veil in Mexican photography: Of rebozos, s?banas, huipiles and lienzos de Ver?nica. Hispanic Research Journal, 6(1), 39-65.

The author discusses the works of a number of Mexican photographers, including such female photographers as Lola ?lvarez Bravo, Flor Gardu?o, Mariana Yampolsky, Kati Horna, Tina Modotti and Graciela Iturbide among others. Serge discovers that the veil in the works of these photographers recalls traditional Christian painting. The article offers its readers an opportunity to look at photographs of some Mexican artists and think of their spiritual and religious context.

Goldman, S. M. (1982). Six women artists in Mexico. Womans Art Journal, 3(2), 1-9.

The author presents and analyzes the works of six contemporary women artists of Mexico, including photographer Miariana Yampolsky, in cultural, historical and social contexts. At the same time, the article includes Goldmans discussion of the role of art in the 20th century and contemporary Mexico, as well as the challenges and opportunities female artists have faced.

Bados-Ciria, C. (1997). Volatile bodies: The photographs of Flor Gardu?o. Chasqui, 26(2), 15-25.

In the article, the author demonstrates some similarities between Garcia Canclinis works and Flor Gardu?os photography. Bados-Ciria points out the importance of photography for anthropology, sociology and history of Mexico in particular. The author also pays attention to such key features of her works as search of esthetic beauty and harmony in photography.

Tucker, J., & Campt, T. (2009). Entwined practices: Engagements with photography in historical inquiry. History and Theory, 48(4), 1-8.

The authors discover the role of photography in illustrating history, revealing its limitations and potential. It is an informative source in terms of historical interpretation of photography.

Rothaizer, S. (1986). Women in photography: Making connections. Off Our Backs, 16(11), 6-7.

The author discovers what it means to be a woman photographer in art world dominated by man. The article deals with the quest of female artists for recognition, disclosing their work against social restrictions.

Research Plan

To accomplish the research for Mexicos women photographers project and present key features of the most distinctive works, I will predominantly evaluate the importance of the topic. The knowledge of the artistic contribution of female photographers to the development of Mexican photography is not only important for ones understanding of the history of Mexico and its art, but also for tracing social and political changes in the country over the years. After finding out the main significant aspects of the topic of the project, I will familiarize myself with the works and feminist positions of some Mexican women photographers, such as Lola ?lvarez Bravo, Tina Modotti, Daniela Rossell and Graciela Iturbide among others. After that, I will make some notes of my impressions and assumptions regarding the key features in their photos in order to compare them with the thoughts of experts who analyzed their photography. It will help me to express my thoughts more clearly and correctly. Then, I will try to find out more about the history of feminism in Mexico to be able to connect it to the topic of women photographers of this country, their works and feministic influence on Mexicos art world. Moreover, I will identify the goals of the research project as well as several specific questions I would like to answer in order to narrow my focus on the most relevant ones. Next, I will make a draft of notes, which will help me to identify the researchable topic more clearly and focus on the most important aspects of it. The next step will be to start creating the research paper itself to summarize, discuss and evaluate the works of scholars and artists I have chosen while writing annotated bibliography. It is necessary to pay much attention to types of sources selected for the project as the quality of the paper directly depends on it.

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The choice of the sources is very important for accomplishing the project. I understand that if I type some words into Google, I will not likely reveal peer-reviewed and reliable sources. That is why I will mainly focus on scholarly sources, as they are best for Mexicos women photographers project. Since sitting in libraries and searching for information there is a very long process, I will use the Internet as it simplifies this task and fastens its accomplishing. Such search engines as ProQuest, JSTOR and Google Scholar are very helpful in finding reliable and informative scholarly sources, and I will start with them. I will search for journals, books, and some other documents that address the topic of Mexican female photographers, their works and achievements, history of photography, and gender inequality in both Mexico and international art world in general. To present such a complex research, I will need a large amount of sources. However, I do not plan to give up relevance and accuracy of the sources in order to simplify my research. Hence, I will reduce the use of internet in order to avoid any mistakes in my statements. I believe that this strategy will help me to answer the research question correctly and in detail.

At the same time, there are some potential impediments to the completion of the project. First, it requires a variety of sources to answer the research questions I chose, which will make the process of writing more complicated. Even if writing a research paper may seem an effortless and linear process, the real process of working on such project is sophisticated and circular. Therefore, I will have to refill some parts repeatedly while accomplishing this project, as there are sections that lack some information, and they need to be fulfilled as I go through the other parts of the research paper. Second, there is a lack of sources that focus on the topic of Mexicos female photographers, their works and feminist influence. Specifically, most studies discuss Mexican photography through the works of male photographers or from their perspective. Although many researchers have paid attention to this topic, Mexicos female photographers influence on the development of photography in the country has been discovered restrictedly since this subject has been ignored or overlooked for years. Thus, in scholarly research as well as in art world, critics and researchers pay less attention to women artists, and this is discrimination. In fact, it is difficult to find information about some outstanding female photographers such as Kati Horna or Daniella Rossell among others. Third, some questions that are related to the project cannot be answered well enough by existing researches yet. For instance, it is difficult to present a smooth transition from male-dominated to feminist photography, as some names of women photographers are missed, ignored or excluded from popular studies. Fourth, even though a number of studies have been conducted on the topic of Mexicos women photographers and their works, many of them are incomprehensive for English-speaking researchers, since they are written in Spanish. In fact, there is a need to translate a number of studies and books that touch upon the theme of life and work of Mexican female photographers. Nevertheless, I believe that it is possible to go through these hindrances and successfully complete the project without losses of details and accuracy.

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Analysis

Mexicos women photographers project will advance my knowledge not only in photography, but in humanities in general. Discovery of the most outstanding Mexican women photographers and elucidation of the key features in their works are very useful activities. It will help me understand the development of photography as a form of art, the role of women-feminists in it and its intertwinement with the history of Mexican society. I will have to read a large amount of literature in order to shed light on the topic. I will also read many scientific works on photography in general to feel free to use key terms of analysis of this form of art in the research, advancing my knowledge in it. In addition, by reading the articles, books and other works written by scholars and artists, I will discover many previously unknown aspects about art because creative personalities present their inner views and turn them into art world. For instance, it was surprising to me to find out how unfair and gendered the world of artists is and how uncomfortable a woman feels in it. This knowledge made me undoubtedly believe in the importance of the topic. At the same time, I understand that my research will not be able to make a breakthrough in the humanities as it is complicated to do it in this field of study. Nevertheless, I hope I will make some discoveries or find and present the ones that were made by scholars over the time. Since the humanities is a dynamic discipline in which nothing is constant, I aim to contribute to changing peoples minds in regard to Mexican photography and the role of women photographers in it.

While preparing the project, I elicited that the humanities refer to fields of study that celebrate both old achievements of previous generations and the new ones of our contemporaries. However, the humanities show that the present is as inherently unstable as the past. While preparing the annotated bibliography pages, I have noticed that the past keeps changing even now. For instance, different sources present the role of feminism in the works of Mexicos women photographers in dissimilar ways. Forgotten, lost or overlooked artistic achievements, artworks and documents continue being recovered, and the past changes. Key analysis points change over the time, and what has been judged as something ordinary and dull years earlier, now can be viewed as a masterpiece. The same is with female photographers, whose works were underestimated and now are viewed as an inevitable part of Mexicos cultural heritage. Thus, the project teaches me that the mission of the humanities is not only to preserve the achievements of the past, but also to trace the changes and transformations of historical knowledge of humans.

Mexicos women photographers project helps me to broaden and extend my knowledge about cultural and social history of Mexico. The research enables me to understand how value systems have been generated in Mexican society over the years through the works of art. In addition, the project makes me think philosophically about humans knowledge firmness concerning their history. In fact, people know very little of their past that is reflected in my research. I believe that the task of the humanities is to make people think critically and doubt their knowledge, teaching them to be opened to new discoveries. Thus, Mexicos women photographers is a very useful and informative project that will advance my knowledge not only in photography, but also in history and in the humanities in general.

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