Subject and object of photography

Photography appeared in the first half of the nineteen century as a technique, so it has not always been considered art. Its conception as something artistic had a long and controversial process and, as the rest of artistic areas, it was a field dominated by men.

The role of women in art has always been reduced to a model position, that is being the object instead of being the subject. In fact, as Guerrilla Girls said once:

“Less than 5% of the artist in the Modern art sections are women, but 85% of the nudes are female”

Although the role of women in photography also had a model role, photography is one of the not many artistic fields in which woman, from the beginning, became recognized photographers and could work on that. We could say that in photography woman adopted another dimension and that’s because they were there since the beginning of the artistic conception of photography.

In this sense, women in photography are capable to build their own image so they don’t need the point of view of men to represent themselves any more. According to Berger’s work Ways of seeing, this idea can be related with the construction of the identity of woman.

That doesn’t mean only man build woman’s conception but men observe women and women observe themselves while they are observed and that fact also determines their image of themselves. In this way, women have always become an object, concretely, a visual object. Are women subjects or objects? How it differs in photography?



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