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Royal Photographic Society Hundred Heroines List Announced in Full

- 5 years ago

Hundred Heroines is a project conceived by The Royal Photographic Society and has been promoted as an international campaign with the sole intention of celebrating
inspirational women in the world of photography. Here, we present the complete list for the first time.

Hundred Heroines
Paola Paredes, Untitled from the series Until You Change 2016 © the artist.

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].

Hundred Heroines
Britta Jaschinski, Elephant feet, turned foot stools, confiscated in the US.

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.

Hundred Heroines
Jillian Edelstein, Fiona Shaw and Deborah Warner © the artist.

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.

Hundred Heroines
Isadora Kosofsky From the series, Still My Mother, Still My Father, 2017 © the artist.

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.”

Looking back

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 heroines, when the list will be put to the public vote. More information on which will be announced shortly.

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 Heroines, marks just the start of the conversation to readdress this imbalance. For more information, tap through via the links below and follow the hashtag #HundredHeroines.

Hundred Heroines
Elina Brotherus, Orange Event,part 4, 2017, from the series Règle du jeu © the artist.

The list of 100 Heroines in full:

100 Heroines

About the author

Read Royal Photographic Society Hundred Heroines List Announced in Full

Simon Skinner

Co-founder // Editor

Having spent many years working in various pockets of the music industry, and always with a camera in hand, Simon has worked with organisations such as Warner/Chappell, Food Records and ultimately, co-founding the innovative independent record label, Izumi Records before moving fully into the world of publishing in 2007. Amongst numerous other projects in the last decade, he has been responsible for a number of specialist photo trade magazines and journals for the filmmaking and photography communities, along with a coffee table book entitled, "Great Britons of Photography' which he produced with Peter Dench and Leica. Now heading up PhotoBite, Simon and the team have set themselves a task of delivering informative and inspirational content for photographers of all levels, from the beginner, shooting with smartphones, to the seasoned photographer and filmmaker.