1st Edition

Women and Photography in Africa Creative Practices and Feminist Challenges

Edited By Darren Newbury, Lorena Rizzo, Kylie Thomas Copyright 2021
    310 Pages
    by Routledge

    310 Pages
    by Routledge

    This collection explores women’s multifaceted historical and contemporary involvement in photography in Africa.

    The book offers new ways of thinking about the history of photography, exploring through case studies the complex and historically specific articulations of gender and photography on the continent, and attending to the challenge and potential of contemporary feminist and postcolonial engagements with the medium. The volume is organised in thematic sections that present the lives and work of historically significant yet overlooked women photographers, as well as the work of acclaimed contemporary African women photographers such as Héla Ammar, Fatoumata Diabaté, Lebohang Kganye and Zanele Muholi. The book offers critical reflections on the politics of gendered knowledge production and the production of racialised and gendered identities and alternative and subaltern subjectivities. Several chapters illuminate how contemporary African women photographers, collectors and curators are engaging with colonial photographic archives to contest stereotypical forms of representation and produce powerful counter-histories.

    Raising critical questions about race, gender and the history of photography, the collection provides a model for interdisciplinary feminist approaches for scholars and students of art history, visual studies and African history.


    List of contributors


    1. New lines of sight: Perspectives on women and photography in Africa

    Darren Newbury, Lorena Rizzo and Kylie Thomas


    2. A working woman’s eye: Anne Fischer and the South African photography of Weimar women in exile

    Jessica Williams

    3. Curating images, performing narratives: Women and photography in the Usakos old location

    Lorena Rizzo

    4. Women photographers in Angola and Mozambique (1909-1950): A history of an absence

    Inês Vieira Gomes


    5. ‘Don’t touch’: Inheriting the Deo Gratias Photo Studio in Ghana – an interview with Kate Tamakloe-Vanderpuije

    Rachel Ama Asaa Engmann

    6. Photographic representations of Tunisian women from the late 1940s to the present: A transgenerational palimpsest

    Dora Carpenter-Latiri

    7. Some collaborative readings of personal and cultural photographs from Southern Africa in the 1980s

    Biddy Partridge


    8. ‘We own the night’: Youth and self-fashioning in Fatoumata Diabaté’s Sutigi

    Tina Barouti

    9. Photographs and memory making: Curating Kewpie: Daughter of District Six

    Tina Smith and Jenny Marsden

    10. Beyond the frame: Zanele’s Muholi’s queer visual activism

    Tessa Lewin


    11. Affective archives: Re-animating family photographs in the works of Lebohang Kganye and Thenjiwe Niki Nkosi

    Marietta Kesting

    12. Visual currencies: Performative photography in South African contemporary art

    Nomusa Makhubu

    13. Héla Ammar’s Tarz: An affective and imaginative memory upon dispossession

    Anna Rocca


    Darren Newbury is Professor of Photographic History and Director of Postgraduate Studies (Arts and Humanities) at the University of Brighton. He is the author of Defiant Images: Photography and Apartheid South Africa (2009) and People Apart: 1950s Cape Town Revisited. Photographs by Bryan Heseltine (2013); and co-editor of The African Photographic Archive: Research and Curatorial Strategies (2015) with Christopher Morton, and a Special Issue of Visual Studies on ‘Photography and African Futures’ (2017) with Richard Vokes. He was editor of the international journal Visual Studies from 2003 to 2015, and has curated exhibitions at the Pitt Rivers Museum, University of Oxford, and District Six Museum, Cape Town.

    Lorena Rizzo is an associate researcher and lecturer in the Center for African Studies at the University of Basel (Switzerland). She has widely published on Namibian and South African visual and gender history. She is currently finalizing a book entitled Shades of Empire: Photography and History in Colonial Southern Africa (forthcoming Routledge).

    Kylie Thomas is a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Research Fellow at the Netherlands Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies in Amsterdam. She is the author of Impossible Mourning: HIV/AIDS and Visuality after Apartheid (Bucknell University Press & Wits University Press, 2014) and co-editor, with Louise Green, of Photography in and out of Africa: Iterations with Difference (Routledge, 2016).

    ‘From the early committed generation of African female studio and press photographers to the contemporary generation of artists and curators, this long-overdue book is a stimulating invitation to further investigation into the rich and unique contributions of African women to the field of photography, and brings new perspectives to research.’

    Érika Nimis, Department of Art History, Université du Québec à Montréal


    ‘This book opens an unprecedented aperture on the diverse photographic practices of women in Africa – as authors, curators, custodians. The scintillating essays urge us to rethink the ways in which history, photography, and gender have inflected each other in the past, and how they might yield new possibilities for envisioning the future.’

    Jean Comaroff, Department of African and African American Studies, Harvard University