Organized Panel Session
Recent scholarship has uncovered new histories of women’s participation in photography beginning with its introduction to Japan circa 1848. Yet there remains a tendency in the history of Japanese photography to think of women’s camera work as separate: its production either driven by gendered motivations or its participation limited by supposed social, physical, and technical limitations that women face. This two-part panel seeks to question this narrative, bringing to light women who were involved in the practice of photography while addressing the practices of writing history and art history that have contributed to the continued denial of women’s lived experiences with photography.
This panel focuses on the specific subjectivities of women photographers in twentieth- and twenty-first-century Japan, presenting intersectional analyses of these artists’ artworks, their biographies, and the way in which they have been accepted into or excluded from extant canons of Japanese photographic history. These case studies will show that including women in a history of photography opens up onto broader conversations of othering and diversity of experience within Japan, whether that be via race, sexuality, health/illness, age, or access to traditional spaces of training and professionalization. By bringing to light the stories of female photographers, this panel aims to intervene into the practices of writing history and to understand how we can move forward and examine long-held assumptions on the limitations of women in the field.