There's a new exhibition on New York City's radar: "Pictures by Women: A History of Modern Photography" at the Museum of Modern Art. And as a female photo-phile, I was excited by the prospect.
Self-Portrait in Mirrors, 1931
Ilse Bing/Courtesy of the Museum of Modern Art
Untitled #92, 1981
Cindy Sherman/Courtesy of the Museum of Modern Art
Untitled, circa 1867
Julia Margaret Cameron/Courtesy of the Museum of Modern Art
The Manger, 1899
Gertrude Kasebier/Courtesy of the Museum of Modern Art
P.F.C. Maria I. Leon, U.S. Army Reserve, On Red Alert, Gulf War, 1990
Judith Joy Ross/Courtesy of the Museum of Modern Art
Untitled (Florence Henri), 1927
Lucia Moholy/Courtesy of the Museum of Modern Art
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Granted, I have the misfortune of being in another city, so I have not yet been to see it in person. But with a title like "A History of Modern Photography" and a sponsor like the MOMA, I have high expectations. I'd hope to see an impressive representation of the female contribution to the medium. Unfortunately, if the few press photos are any representation of the show on the whole, I'd have to say: I'm disappointed.
The Cindy Sherman photo, for example, is hardly representative of her enormous contribution to the medium. The somewhat one-dimensional portrait by Lucia Moholy doesn't even begin to describe her rich portfolio. And I can't help but think: if it doesn't excite me, whom will it excite?
To be fair, the exhibition was put together from MOMA's holdings. No museum can have the best prints from every photographer spanning a century. I mean, maybe my disappoinment stems from the fact that women, on the whole, just haven't been as prominent in photography as men. And if that's the case, then MOMA is not to blame.