Unretouched Women: Femmes à l’oeuvre, femmes à l’épreuve de l’image
Revisiting three canonical 1970s photobooks that redefined feminism through photography
As feminism gained momentum in 1970s America, three photographers?Abigail Heyman, Eve Arnold and Susan Meiselas?published massively influential photobooks informed by the movement.
The first, Heyman’s Growing Up Female (1974), is a kind of feminist diary: the photographer casts a lucid eye at her own life and questions the imprisonment of women in stereotype roles. The second, Eve Arnold’s The Unretouched Woman (1976), shows unknown women and celebrities in spontaneous everyday moments. The photos were deliberately not retouched or staged and offer a nuanced vision of women far from the glamor of glossy magazines. The third, Susan Meiselas’ Carnival Strippers (also 1976), is the fruit of three years of investigation into fairground striptease sideshows in the Northeastern United States.
Unretouched Women reveals the innovations these three photographers launched in the book medium.