FOCUS: FOUR WOMEN PHOTOGRAPHERS by Sylvia Wolf
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FOCUS: FOUR WOMEN PHOTOGRAPHERS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

In her amazing first book for young readers, Wolf tells the stories of five women photographers from Victorian times through the present. Julia Margaret Cameron (1815-1879), an English woman born in India, began photographing at the age of 48. Unlike her contemporaries, Cameron tried to make her portraits less forced and unnatural and was often criticized for her fuzzy images and allegedly poor technique, but she is recognized today as a true innovator in the art of portraiture. In contrast to Cameron's studiously unstudied works are those of Sandy Skoglund (b. 1946). Her striking photo, ""Radioactive Cats"" (1980), shown on the cover, is not retouched: She painted the room, sculpted the cats, and designed the display for six months before she took the picture. Flor GarduÑo (b. 1957) and Lorna Simpson (b. 1960) use very different techniques to capture the culture and history of Latin-American Indians and African-Americans, respectively. GarduÑo records the Indians engaged in their daily affairs, while Simpson uses stark images and multimedia displays to combat racial stereotyping and to remember the past. Margaret Bourke-White's (1904-1971) spectacular career provides the most historically significant images in the book. Bourke-White was an intrepid photographer who gave the world such enduring photos as the ""Dam at Fort Peck, Montana"" (1936), the first cover of Life magazine; ""Buchenwald, Germany, the Day after Liberation, April 1945""; and the politically charged picture of Ghandi posed with his spinning wheel. Wolf presents the artists in simple, elegant prose, and her analyses of their works are thoughtful and convincing. The photographs are beautifully reproduced and precisely credited, each one a masterpiece.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1994
Page count: 64pp
Publisher: Whitman