2020 FESTIVAL THEME

WOMEN AND PHOTOGRAPHY

2020 coincides with the centenary of the first woman matriculating and graduating from the University of Oxford. What better time and place could there be for celebrating women and their diverse roles in international photography?

This - the third - Photo Oxford Festival is a celebration of women as photographers, critics, editors and photographic subjects.

While photography, like many of the creative arts, is perceived to be a male-dominated field, history shows that even in the late 19th century, women of the upper and middle classes experimented with the medium as a tool of documentation as well as artistic self-expression. At the same time photographic studios employed working-class women to assist in a variety of work. When photography became widely accessible in the 20th century, women increasingly participated in the creation of photographs: in front of the lens as well as behind it.


Hands and Feet  by Helen Muspratt
Hands and Feet © Helen Muspratt ca. 1932

What themes are women photographers addressing from behind the camera? To what extent have muses become collaborators in the creation of their photographic image? Do selfies show more than self-generated objects of display? The festival seeks to draw attention to diverse viewpoints, relationships, and concerns that inform today's photographic culture.