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 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:
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.
– 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: