Ana Casas Broda’s “Videogame” (photo courtesy of Bank of America collection, courtesy of the artist)

See “Modern Women/Modern Vision” at the Taft Museum of Art

A photography exhibition on display in Cincinnati through Sept. 10 features around 100 works by groundbreaking women artists in the medium.

Bright orange goldfish pop against a monochrome blue bedroom scene. They float in the air and flop out of open dresser drawers. The scene is from the surreal photo, “Revenge of the Goldfish” by Sandy Skoglund. It’s one of about 100 photographic prints in the exhibition “Modern Women/Modern Vision: Photography from the Bank of America Collection.”

The exhibition, on display at Cincinnati’s Taft Museum of Art through Sept. 10, traces the history of women photographers, with a photograph dating from 1905 spanning to contemporary works.

“This show is all about how women have been major contributors to the development of photography since its inception but have historically been left out of that story or underrepresented,” says Tamera Muente, curator at the Taft Museum of Art.

The photos themselves are as diverse as the women who took them, ranging from a portrait by Gertrude Käsebier, who manipulated her work to look more like fine art paintings, to contemporary works that blur the lines of photography and performance art, like Nikki S. Lee’s “The Hispanic Project (18).”

Dorothea Lange’s “Migrant Mother, Nipoma, California” and Gertrude Käsebier’s “Portrait–Miss Minnie Ashley” (photos courtesy of Bank of America collection)

“We often think of photography as being something that has some truth to it, but as we all know now in the world of social-media filters and deep-fake technology, that not everything we see is reality,” says Muente. “A lot of these artists were examining that before it became widespread knowledge.”

Not only have women historically used innovative methods to create their art, but the topics they highlight are often boundary pushing, like the famous photo “Migrant Mother, Nipomo, California” by Dorothea Lange, depicting the hardships of life during the Great Depression. Other examples include two works by Carrie Mae Weems examining race and gender stereotypes and “Untitled: We Will No Longer Be Seen and Not Heard” by Barbara Kruger, a series that explores feminism.

“I want people to walk away with a new appreciation for the contributions of women to the medium of photography,” says Muente, “and all of the exciting ways that they’re approaching the image.” 

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