Friday, July 31, 2009

"What a Woman Can Do With a Camera"

My title comes from an article published in the September 1897 issue of Ladies Home Journal written by Francis Benjamin Johnston, one of the first women to have a successful career as a commercial and editorial photographer. She supported her self with her camera for nearly seven decades, from the 1880s when she began photographing, until her death in 1952. Her advice, ladies:
“The woman who makes photography profitable must have, as to personal qualities, good common sense, unlimited patience to carry her though endless failures, equally unlimited tact, good taste, a quick eye, a talent for detail, and a genius for hard work. In addition, she needs training, experience, some capital, and a field to exploit.
When she wrote this article, she was the age I am now. She had a studio in Washington DC, where she photographed the political and upper classes. (And where she also threw great parties complete with a photo booth. That's her in a self-portrait)

I submitted a little article on FBJ today for an encyclopedia on American Women.

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