30 For 30: A Show of Their Own

To celebrate Women’s History Month, we’re featuring items from the PWP Archives* each day on this blog. In looking back, we see not only where we started, but how far photography, women, and the world have come since 1975.

Photographers take pictures to show something, but for many years women had a hard time getting work on the wall. So creating opportunities for them to exhibit has always been crucial for PWP. In 1981, the group held its first show, The Me Generation, at Photographics Unlimited in Chelsea.

The Me Generation exhibit featured in a PWP publication (pages edited by Stephanie Cohen)

The Me Generation exhibit featured in a PWP publication (pages edited by Stephanie Cohen)

The tag was coined by writer Tom Wolfe to describe the narcissism prevalent among baby boomers who came of age in the 1970s. It was a time of widespread disillusion (Watergate, Vietnam, unemployment, inflation), and many turned from traditional values to consumerism and self-fulfillment. But there was positive change as well. Many groups, like women, long excluded from professions and opportunities, began to stand up and speak out.

Publicity for The Me Generation exhibit included a write-up in Camera 35 Magazine:

PWP's The Me Generation exhibit written up in Camera 35

PWP’s The Me Generation exhibit written up in Camera 35

In 1981, there was no Internet so there was no online entry process for shows. Submissions were in slide format, which meant a photographer had to photograph a finished print, lighting carefully to prevent shadow and surface reflection. The slides had to be processed, then mailed off or hand delivered. Today with digital capture, it’s easy to generate a JPEG right from a file. Some cameras even allow for direct upload to the Internet. A different way, a different world.

Slide submissions for The Me Generation exhibition

Slide submissions for The Me Generation exhibition

– Catherine Kirkpatrick

*The PWP Archives were acquired by the Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, & Rare Book Library of Emory University

Links to all the 30 For 30 Women’s History Month blogs:
Help Me Please! Hopelessly Waiting…
Exhibition and Anger
Spreading the Word
Early Ads On Paper
Cards and Letters
A Lady, a Truck, a Singing Dog
Women of Vision
A Show of Their Own
Taking It To the Street
Sisters of Sister Cities
Education and More
Face of a Changing City
Digital Enabling
Expanding Walls and Other Possibilities
A Wonderful Life–Lady Style
Branding–the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
The Great Change Sweeps In
PWP Goes Live!
Honoring the Upcoming
Continuity Through Change
Reaching Out
Eye a Woman Naked
Rapidly Multiplying Alternative Options
Women In the World, As Themselves
Friends Who Overcame and Inspired
Reversing the Gaze
Photography and More
Chicks Telling It Like It Is
Looking Back With Thanks



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