Royal Photographic Society Hundred Heroines List Announced in Full
inspirational women in the world of photography. Here, we present the complete list for the first time.
The Royal Photographic Society’s, [RPS] final list of women from across the globe, whose work is transforming photography, the final Hundred Heroines, has been announced on the 14th December 2018, as this date signifies a hundred years since a handful of British women first voted in a general election.
Hundred Heroines and The RPS celebrate both this key centenary and the significant contribution women are making all over the world to photography. The list of heroines comprises of many well-known names such as Sophie Calle, Rineke Dijkstra, Susan Meiselas, and Hannah Starkey, along with photographers such as the Native American artist, Wendy Red Star and Moscow based photographer, Oksana Yushko, whose works are not so widely recognised, particularly in the UK. The heroines are based from as far afield as Ecuador [Paola Paredes] and the Russian Arctic [Evgenia Arbugaeva].
Speaking about the announcement of the ‘hundred heroines’ and her involvement in the monumental judging process, Rut Blees Luxemburg told PhotoBite: “Although it was a truly challenging exercise having to consider 1300 women, being a part of the jury for Hundred
Heroines was ultimately an incredibly stimulating and inspirational process. This final list reflects both the global expanse of female practice and the intergenerational input into contemporary photography. It reflects the wide range of methodologies, practices and diverse approaches of women working with the photographic medium. This is a moment of change and this list of heroines pays heed to it.”
The vast range of photography from the list of heroines documents subjects from exploring self-identity to the female freedom fighters of Kurdistan. Nevertheless, in what is still often thought as a male-dominated industry, much of their work remains neglected.
Following on from the RPS’ eponymous international campaign this summer where the public, alongside key figures in photography, nominated their own ‘heroines’, a judging panel of respected photography experts, chaired by artist, photographer, and Royal Photographic Society Fellow, Rut Blees Luxemburg [RCA], had the enormous task of shaving down more than 1300 individual women nominated from the thousands and thousands of votes cast to just one hundred contemporary heroines.
The sheer scale of inclusive and positive support, from both men and women, that this timely campaign has received, highlights the abundance of contemporary female photographic talent, the promotion of which is well overdue.
An exhibition and accompanying publication will follow and each of the heroines is awarded a medal minted specifically for the project; the Margaret Harker medal. Margaret Harker [1920 – 2013] was the first female president of The Royal Photographic Society and the first female professor of photography in the UK. A distinguished photographic historian, she was instrumental in the development of photographic education.
Del Barrett, Vice-President, The Royal Photographic Society, who instigated the campaign, said of Hundred Heroines: “We have been absolutely overwhelmed by the positive response to the campaign. It’s been a roller-coaster of emotions reading the stories of heartbreak, hurt and hope and we’ve been moved by the extraordinary lengths women will go to in order to highlight the plight of others.”
In addition to the contemporary heroines highlighted, the campaign received a huge amount of nominations for those women no longer with us, whose work has been crucially important to photography as it lives today. This campaign will roll into 2019 with a focus on these historical
The Royal Photographic Society is proud to have always encouraged female photographers and has many historical female members, including Julia Margaret Cameron, Elizabeth Vignoles, and Olive Edis.
In addition to the backing from the international photography community, Hundred Heroines has received support and encouragement from Helen Pankhurst, the great-granddaughter of Emmeline Pankhurst and granddaughter of Sylvia Pankhurst.
Speaking about the program, Pankhurst said: “What a wonderful way to mark the centenary of women’s suffrage. If my grandmother and great-grandmother were able to come back and look at the world today, I think they would be heartened by much of the progress in women’s rights. However, they would also be spurring us on, highlighting how much we still have to do; given ongoing levels of gender inequality in almost all spheres, including in the world of photography.”
Through its Hundred Heroines initiative, the Royal Photographic Society believes the status of women in contemporary photography will be redefined and realigned, allowing talents that may otherwise have been overlooked to emerge. For the RPS, Hundred