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Consuelo Kanaga

Consuelo Kanaga

Consuelo Kanaga was born in Astoria, Oregon, in 1894. Kanaga became a journalist with theSan Francisco Chronicle in 1915. She joined the California Camera Club where she met Dorothea Lange.

In 1922 Kanaga moved to New York where she became a photojournalist with the New York American. She exhibited with the Group f/64 but never became a member. Kanaga, a socialist, began working with radical journals such as the New Masses and lectured at the Photo League. In 1936 she worked for Index of American Design, a Works Progress Administration (WPA) project.

Some of Kanaga's photographs appeared in The Family of Man, an exhibition organized by Edward Steichen in 1955. In the 1960s Kanaga worked as a covering the struggle for African American civil rights. Consuelo Kanaga died in New York in 1978.

Consuelo Kanaga at the ICP Photo Collections

During my MFA experience I had the opportunity to work as a digital archivist in The Photography Collection at the International Center for Photography. The collection itself contains over 100,000 items including prints, negatives and rare journals and magazines. They even have copies of Alfred Steiglitz’s Camera Work magazine! If you’re in NYC, the ICP collection and the ICP library (at the school) are definitely worth spending a few hours in.

One day I stumbled upon a box of photographs by Consuelo Kanaga and was amazed! I’d long admired Kanaga’s black and white work, specifically her portraits of African-Americans. Read more about this photojournalist who developed a close connection with the Black American community before and during the civil rights struggle.

Dodge & Burn is a blog dedicated to documenting a more inclusive history of photography and supporting the work of photographers of color with photographer interviews.

This blog is published by visual artist and writer, Qiana Mestrich. For regular updates on diversity in photography history, follow Qiana on Twitter @mestrich, Like the Dodge & Burn Blog page on Facebook or subscribe to Dodge & Burn by email.

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Consuelo Kanaga - History

Simon Lowinsky Gallery, New York, 1990
Page Imageworks, San Francisco, as agent


Object Lessons: Masterworks of Modernist Photography from Three Bay Area Collections, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, 7 December 1995 - 10 March 1996
Collected, Pier 24 Photography, San Francisco, 2 May 2016 - 31 January 2017


Pier 24 Photography, Collected, p. 103 (this print)
Millstein and Lowe, Consuelo Kanaga: An American Photographer, cover and p. 100

Catalogue Essay

Few photographers’ lives have threaded in and out of the history of 20th-century photography as did Consuelo Kanaga’s. Born in Oregon, she began her photographic career at the San Francisco Chronicle, and from there her work in the medium brought her into contact with a whole host of notables: from Albert Bender to Alfred Stieglitz, from photographers associated with Group f.64 to those of New York’s Photo League. A true individualist, she connected deeply with her colleagues in the field, but declined to become a member of any movement or devote herself to a single ideology. Her photographs were exhibited in Group f.64’s inaugural show in San Francisco in 1932 and at The Museum of Modern Art, New York, multiple times in the 1940s, 50s, and 60s. In a career that spanned decades, her approach to photography was driven exclusively by an overriding sense of empathy for her subjects.

Kanaga’s peripatetic life took her to several American cities and to Europe, and she supported herself with magazine work and portrait commissions, all the while continuing her personal photographic projects. She moved to New York permanently in 1935, and in 1936, she married the painter Wallace Putnam, from whose collection many of the Kanaga works in this sale originally come.

Kanaga was, perhaps, one of the finest photographers to ever photograph African Americans. Her work avoided the cliché, the dramatized, or the sentimental, and focused instead on the dignity of the individuals who came before her camera. She was socially progressive in a segregated America. According to those who knew her, she was a passionate champion of those ill-treated or ignored by society. In a 1972 interview she summed up her life’s work thus: ‘One thing I had to say in my photography was that Negroes are beautiful and that poverty is a tender and terrible subject to be approached on one’s knees’ (Camera 35, Vol. 16, No. 10).

The photograph offered here was taken on a trip to Tennessee in 1948, a trip that resulted in what many regard as some of Kanaga’s best work.

Consuelo Kanaga Net Worth & Salary

Consuelo Kanaga is one of the richest American Photographer. she lives in a country where have totall 328.2 Million peoples with the average GDP $20.54 Trillion (2018). According to some online newspaper, Consuelo Kanaga net worth is $1.5 Million.

With an estimated net worth of over $1.5 Million, Consuelo Kanaga is always ranked on the list of the richest Photographer in United States. she has steadily built her wealth over the years.

Coming to Consuelo Kanaga's salary. Right now, our team working to update her salary. We will update this soon as possible.


Consuelo Kanaga has been called &ldquoone of America&rsquos most transcendent yet, surprisingly, least-known photographers.&rdquo [1]
She had a wide range of visual interests, from pictorialism to
photojournalism to portraiture to cityscape to still lifes. It&rsquos been
said that the dominant theme in her work is an &ldquoabiding interest in, and
engagement with, the American scene.&rdquo [1]
She celebrated the human in every photo she took, whether it was images
of sharecroppers and their homes in the South or found still lifes of
flowers and curtains. She was also noted as a technician of the highest
skills in the darkroom.

Her portraiture included many well-known artists and writers of the 1930s and 󈧬s, including Milton Avery, Morris Kantor, Wharton Esherick, Mark Rothko and W. Eugene Smith.

Kanaga, who was white, was one of the few photographers in the 1930s
to produce artistic portraits of black people. Significantly, the four
prints she contributed to the first Group f/64 exhibition were all
portraits of blacks, including two of Eluard Luchell McDaniel, whom she
would photograph repeatedly in ensuing years. [8] Kanaga also photographed black writers and intellectuals, among them Langston Hughes and Countee Cullen.

In 1949 she was included in the very important show 50 Photographs by 50 Photographers: Landmarks in Photographic History at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Kanaga&rsquos best-known image, &ldquoShe Is a Tree of Life to Them,&rdquo [9] was given its title by Edward Steichen when he selected it for the landmark Family of Man
exhibition in 1955. The picture, from a study of migrant workers in
Florida, portrays a slender black woman, framed against a white wall,
who gathers her children to her with a tender gesture.

She continued photographing through the 1960s, including a series of photographs of civil rights demonstrations in Albany, Georgia
in 1963. In 1974 Kanaga had a one-person exhibition at the
Lerner-Heller Gallery in New York and in 1976, a small but important
retrospective at The Brooklyn Museum. In 1977 she had an exhibition at
Wave Hill, Riverdale, New York, followed by participation in an
historical exhibition of the original f.64 group of photographers at the
University of Missouri.

On October 15, 1993 the first major retrospective of Consuelo Kanagas work was held at the Brooklyn Museum. The exhibition was titled, Consuelo Kanaga: An American Photographer
and ran until February 27, 1994. The exhibition contained approximately
120 gelatin silver prints, many of which had never been seen before or
published. They were all drawn from a cache of more than 2000 negatives
and 340 prints left to the Brooklyn Museum in 1982 by the artists husband and painter, Wallace Putnam. A fully illustrated catalogue published by the Brooklyn Museum
in association with University of Washington Press accompanied the
exhibition. The publication included an introduction by William Maxwell
and essays by Barbara Head Millstein and Sarah M. Lowe. [10]

I could have done lots more, put in much more work and developed more
pictures, but I had also a desire to say what I felt about life. Simple
things like a little picture in the window or the corner of the studio
or an old stove in the kitchen have always been fascinating to me. They
are very much alive, these flowers and grasses with the dew on them.
Stieglitz always said, &ldquoWhat have you got to say?&rdquo I think in a few
small cases I&rsquove said a few things, expressed how I felt, trying to show
the horror of poverty or the beauty of black people. I think that in
photography what you&rsquove done is what you&rsquove had to say. In everything
this has been the message of my life. A simple supper, being with
someone you love, seeing a deer come around to eat or drink at the barn –
I like things like that. If I could make one true, quiet photograph, I
would much prefer it to having a lot of answers. [4]

Consuelo Kanaga: An American Photographer

Born in Astoria, Oregon, Kanaga began her career as a journalist with The San Francisco Chronicle, where she taught herself to take photographs to accompany her articles. Working at a time when photography was becoming an established medium, she joined the California Camera Club, and later exhibited with f.64, a group of photographers including Ansel Adams, Dorothea Lange, Edward Weston, and Imogen Cunningham, all of whom became her close friends. Bicoastal for many years, she eventually moved to New York, continuing her journalistic career at Hearst’s New York American and then freelancing. During these early years in New York, Kanaga, like most young photographers, visited Alfred Stieglitz’s historic Gallery 291. She said Stieglitz asked only one question of photographers, &ldquoWhat have you got to say?&rdquo It was against this question that she measured her own work and that of others.

While on assignment to the American she met and photographed one of her most moving subjects, The Widow Watson. Her contact with poverty and with Black people spurred her desire to record the human condition as she saw it and inspired the two main themes that appear in many of her finest pictures, whether it was in the streets of New York City in the 1920s, in San Francisco, Europe, and North Africa in the 1930s, recording the &ldquoMuck Workers&rdquo of South Florida in the 1940s and 50s, or following the Peace Marchers to Albany, Georgia, in the 1960s.

In 1974 Kanaga had a one-person exhibition at the Lerner-Heller Gallery in New York and in 1976, a small but important retrospective at The Brooklyn Museum. In 1977 she had an exhibition at Wave Hill, Riverdale, New York, followed by participation in an historical exhibition of the original f.64 group of photographers at the University of Missouri. In 1978 she died at her home in Yorktown Heights, New York, survived by her husband of over forty years, painter Wallace Putnam.

A one-day symposium exploring Kanaga’s career within the context of 20th-century American culture and social history will be held on October 23, in the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Auditorium. It will feature seven scholars, museum professionals, and colleagues and contemporaries of Kanaga, who will address the issues of race and gender in photgraphy, as well as explore the rich cultural life of New York in the 1930s, 40s, and 50s.

A fully illustrated catalogue published by The Brooklyn Museum in association with University of Washington Press accompanies the exhibition (223 pages, paperback, $35).

Consuelo Kanaga: An American Photographer was organized by the Brooklyn Museum and was curated by Barbara Head Millstein, Associate Curator, Painting and Sculpture, Department of Photography, at the Museum and Sarah M. Lowe, guest curator. The exhibition and its related publications were made possible, in part, by the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency the Milton and Sally Avery Arts Foundation Florence D. Lewisohn Lucille and Charles M. Plotz and Kirk and Carolyn Wilkinson.

Consuelo Kanaga - History

Anti-Vietnam war protest and demonstration in front of the White House (1968)
by Library of Congress
National Women's History Museum

American women's peace advocacy has roots in 19th century US and European abolitionist, suffrage, and peace movements. Throughout the last century, women peace advocates have worked inside and outside the political system to end war and promote a more just American international policy.

Jane Addams / Library of Congress (1914)
by Gerhard Sisters, photographer
National Women's History Museum

Nobel Prize winner Jane Addams worked for international disarmament during World War I. A pioneering reformer, Addams believed bringing people together to collaborate in local communities could be a model for international peace.

Helen Keller
by Library of Congress
National Women's History Museum

Helen Keller was recognized for her work to promote universal brotherhood and greater understanding between the races. Keller supported woman suffrage and child and adult workers’ rights.

Ida B. Wells (1891)
by Library of Congress Prints and Photographs
Division Washington, D.C.
National Women's History Museum

At the turn of the 20th-century, journalist Ida B. Wells-Barnett denounced lynching against African Americans as an attack against African American economic and political advancement.

Miss Emily Greene Balch
by Harris & Ewing, photographer
National Women's History Museum

Internationalist Emily Greene Balch led an interracial delegation to Haiti in 1925 that criticized the American occupation’s impact on race relations and civil liberties and encouraged greater democracy.

Peace Pilgrim (1972)
by Ray Berry
National Women's History Museum

Peace Pilgrim walked more than 25,000 miles not only to oppose war and the arms race, but also to demonstrate peace could arise from the goodwill of people, such as those who helped her on her journey.

Dagmar Wilson (1963)
by Paul Schmick, Reprinted with permission of the DC Public Library, Star Collection © Washington Post
National Women's History Museum

Anti-nuclear activist Dagmar Wilson co-founded a 1960s women’s peace movement that mentored a generation of women activists and argued women had a role to end war and atmospheric nuclear testing that endangered children’s health.

Barbara Deming
by Consuelo Kanaga
National Women's History Museum

Writer and nonviolence activist and practitioner, Barbara Deming believed violence and racism had common roots. A lesbian and feminist, Deming devised a secular model of nonviolence based on respect.

Marii Hasegawa (1966)
by Irving Wagman
National Women's History Museum

Marii Hasegawa and her family were interred during World War II. Hasegawa was President of WILPF during the Vietnam War where she organized protests and led a delegation to North Vietnam.

Elise Boulding (1999)
by Ikeda Center
National Women's History Museum

Elise Boulding, a Quaker, was an early sociologist of peace and conflict. She envisioned a holistic approach to peace: that a peace culture could emerge through spirituality, family dynamics, and peace education.

Bella Abzug
by Library of Congress
National Women's History Museum

A Jewish American lawyer and U.S. Representative, Bella Abzug worked for peace, women’s rights, racial justice and workers’ rights as a lawyer, politician, and grassroots activist.

Coretta Scott King (1976)
by Library of Congress
National Women's History Museum

Coretta Scott King played a prominent role as a speaker, citizen diplomat, and political strategist in the 1960s women’s peace movements WILPF and the anti-nuclear and anti-war women’s movement Women Strike for Peace.

Joan Baez (1963)
National Women's History Museum

Folk music icon, peace educator, founder of the human rights group Amnesty International, Joan Baez has led campaigns against the Vietnam war, the death penalty, U.S. policy in Central American and domestic civil rights.

Holly Near
by Irene Young
National Women's History Museum

Holly Near is an activist folk-singer and pioneering woman record-label owner. Through her music and her organizing Near linked international feminism and anti-war activism.

Jody Williams
by Nobel Women's Initiative
National Women's History Museum

Jody Williams saw the need to coordinate non-governmental organizations in an international protest against landmines. The International Campaign to Ban Landmines successfully drafted a treaty to ban anti-personnel mines.

Kathy Kelly (Dec 1998)
by Alan Pogue
National Women's History Museum

Nonviolence practitioner, author, and teacher, Kathy Kelly is a founder of Voices for Creative Nonviolence, a group that works in conflict areas to de-escalate violence and build foundation for alternatives to war.

Samantha Smith
National Women's History Museum

At a time of large anti-nuclear protests, Samantha Smith, a young citizen diplomat, wrote to Soviet leader Yuri Andropov to understand the Soviet view and spark dialog. She also visited the Soviet Union to promote easing of relations.

800 women strikers for peace (1961)
by Phil Stanziola
National Women's History Museum

American women have displayed great creativity to promote more peaceful international and domestic relations over the last century consistent throughout is the vision that the foundations of a peaceful world are based in cooperating to address the root causes of violence and injustice.

Consuelo Kanaga - History

Consuelo Kanaga, Annie Mae Merriweather, 1936 (14.1982)

Consuelo Kanaga, Frances, 1936 (15.1982)

Consuelo Kanaga, She Is a Tree of Life to Them, 1950 (21.1982)

Consuelo Kanaga, After years of hard work, 1950 (19.1982)

Consuelo Kanaga, The Question, 1950 (22.1982)

There were very few non-black photographers in the early twentieth century who were depicting African Americans in a positive light. Consuelo Kanaga was an American-born photographer of Swiss heritage who, like her better known contemporary Dorothea Lange, worked as a photojournalist from 1915 through to the 60s. Living in San Francisco, Kanaga decided to become a photographer after she discovered Alfred Stieglitz’s Camera Work publication and was introduced to other Bay Area photographers like Edward Weston by Lange.

In 1931 she employed Eluard Luchell McDaniels as her housekeeper and it was through talks with him that she came to learn of the African-American fight against racism. Kanaga began taking portraits of McDaniels through which she established a lifelong, empathetic
connection with her black subjects.

Kanaga had no prescribed agenda in depicting African Americans. In a statement about her work she mentions simply “trying to show the beauty of black people.” In her compositions Kanaga didn’t care for showing context, choosing instead (in most cases) to viscerally engage the viewer with the subject’s face by taking close-ups. As taught by Stieglitz, she didn’t just rely on in-camera composition but often (re)worked her prints tirelessly by cropping and manipulating tonal values to achieve her aesthetic vision.

Throughout her career, Kanaga held a wide range of visual interests from portraits to cityscapes to still lifes and yet it is her artistic vision of black Americans that was her most engaging work. A woman who “enjoyed playing at the margins,” Kanaga seemingly had no fear or doubts about her vision. She didn’t simply show likeness in her portraits, she conveyed deep human emotions from an American population who at the time were often relegated to sub-human depictions.

The images above, all donated by the photographer’s husband Wallace Putnam, celebrate the photographer’s dedication to use the art of portraiture to “change morals” a power that Susan Sontag attributes to the photographic medium in her book On Photography. Among the collection is an intense 1936 portrait of Annie Mae Merriweather, whose husband Jim Press Merriweather, a sharecropper in Lowndes, Alabama, was lynched for being part of the Sharecropper’s Union strike for higher wages.

Also in the collection is Kanaga’s iconic image She Is a Tree of Life to Them, which was titled by and featured in Edward Steichen’s 1955 The Family of Man exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art. The photographer herself said the creation of image was influenced by African-American sculptor Sargent Johnson—specifically his piece titled Forever Free (1933). Both her camaraderie with and influence by the African-American community shows Kanaga’s understanding of a culture that was in many ways completely opposite of her own.

A “bohemian” woman known for her compassionate lens, Kanaga went on to photograph famous black artists and intellectuals like Langston Hughes and Countee Cullen. Further enforcing her personal affiliation, Kanaga was an active participant in the civil rights movements of the 1960s. Her work served as a glorious alternative to the negative stereotyping of the time and is now a unique page in American photography history.

The J. Paul Getty Museum

© Alma Lavenson Archives. All rights reserved. Contact Susan Ehrens.

Object Type:
Object Description

Portrait of Consuelo Kanaga, holding both hands to her neck. She is looking to the left.

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10 Historic Women Photographers You Should Know

Next month, Sotheby's will bring a broad array of photography to the auction block, illuminating the impressive range of the medium through a survey of Modern and Post-War image makers. While audiences will get their fair share of the men who helped changed the history of photos -- think Bill Brandt, Robert Frank, Weegee, Alfred Stieglitz and Ansel Adams -- some of the most impressive names in the bunch belong to the 20th and 21st century women who have brought the art of photography to new heights.

Diane Arbus, Nan Goldin and Annie Leibovitz are indelible icons in the photography canon, having created works that art history students will be studying for centuries to come. Below is a primer on 10 of the historic women included in the upcoming photography sale at Sotheby's. Add these ladies to your list of art world saints, pronto.

Beyond the list below, works by photographers like Doris Ulmann, Imogen Cunningham, Alma Lavenson, Consuelo Kanaga, Dorothea Lange, Ruth Bernhard, Berenice Abbott, Lisette Model and Lynn Davis will also be up for sale at Sotheby's next month. However, there are, of course, many more woman photographers you should know outside of this sale, particularly the work of Carrie Mae Weems, Lorna Simpson, Graciela Iturbide and, of course, Cindy Sherman.

While Sotheby's survey stands to correct the long male-dominated realm of photography by including many of the women who helped shape the medium, there still remains a lack of American women of color in the sale. This is yet another reason why we need curators to readdress the annals of art history to rediscover the artists mainstream institutions have ignored. These 10 women deserve every bit of recognition next month, but there's no harm in pushing auctioneers to bring a more diverse lot of artworks to the table.

In that spirit, let us know which photographers you'd add to the sale in the comments.

Sotheby's "Photographs" sale will take place on Oct. 7 at 10 a.m. in New York City.

1. Ruth Orkin

The late Ruth Orkin, born in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1921, captured an image that has since served as a bold reminder of what it was like to travel as a single woman in post-WWII Europe. The photo above, shot in 1951, is not staged. Rather, it shows Orkin's friend Ninalee Craig walking along a Florence street amidst a crowd of Italian strangers all too eager to take notice of a lone woman (they were aware of a camera, but not instructed to gawk). Craig and Orkin's daughter Mary Engel have insisted that the image is not about harassment or the male gaze instead it's meant to highlight the resilience of a woman intent on experiencing the world on her own.

Orkin worked steadily from the 1940s to the 1980s, shooting for publications like The New York Times and Life, co-directing an Oscar-nominated film, and showing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art before she died in New York City in 1985.

2. Nan Goldin

American photographer Nan Goldin was born in Washington, D.C., in 1953. She presented her first show at a New York nightclub in 1979, her images distinct for their treatment of intimacy, sexuality, abuse and transgression in the drug-heavy years of NYC. These works eventually transformed into "The Ballad of Sexual Dependency," originally imagined as a slideshow of photos of Goldin's friends and herself set to music by artists like Nina Simone and The Velvet Underground.

Goldin's work has evolved greatly since the 1980s, including the 2004 series "Sisters, Saints & Sybils" which explores the photographer's sister Barbara's suicide at the age of 18. The above photo, "Valerie Floating," proves Goldin's ability to invoke pure emotions and memories in her framing, translating her subjects' elation, hesitation, anger or content into frozen moments in time.

3. Diane Arbus

New York-born Diane Arbus, who lived from 1923 to 1981, is known for her black and white images that capture the faces of largely underrepresented or marginalized people -- including trans models, nudists, and senior citizens. In the 1960s, her editorial work for publications like Harper's Bazaar, Sunday Times Magazine and Esquire revealed conventional subjects like writers and actors in their own familiar settings, often shown staring directly into the camera with an expression of intrigue or nonchalance.

"[Arbus'] work implicates you and the ethics of vision itself," Jeff Rosenheim, the Metropolitan Museum of Art's curator of photography, explained to the Smithsonian. "Our license to have that experience of viewing another person is changed and challenged, supported and enriched. I firmly believe this might be the most important single-artist photography exhibition our museum will ever do."

4. Annie Leibovitz

Annie Leibovitz, born in Connecticut in 1949, might be the most well-known woman photographer working today. Leibovitz's first photography assignment, courtesy of Rolling Stone, was shooting John Lennon in 1970, and thus a career was born -- two years later she was named the chief photographer of the publication. In 1980, she once again set off to photograph Lennon, this time with his partner Yoko Ono. "We took one Polaroid,” Leibovitz recalled of the shoot, shown above, "and the three of us knew it was profound right away."

Leibovitz eventually joined Vanity Affair in 1983, which would play host to her portraits of everyone from Demi Moore to Barack Obama. Since then, she has published A Photographer’s Life: 1990-2005, which encapsulates her near-constant output in the years following.

5. Helen Levitt

The late New York-based photographer Helen Levitt, born in 1913, is known for her stirring take on street photography, first in black and white and later in gripping color. Under the patronage of a Guggenheim grant in the late 1950s and early 1960s, she captured hundreds of color negatives of New York City that were tragically stolen by a burglar a decade later. Thankfully, she continued to take photographs up until her death in 2009, many of which are memorialized in a book of her work titled Here and There.

In an obituary published on March 30, 2009, Margaret Loke noted that "the masterpieces in Ms. Levitt’s oeuvre are her photographs of children living their zesty, improvised lives." One such example is the photo above.

6. Shirin Neshat

Shirin Neshat, an Iranian artist born in 1958, is known primarily for her video and photography works that explore ideas of femininity in her home country. For example, Neshat's photograph, "I Am Its Secret," on sale at Sotheby's next month, shows the face of a veiled Muslim woman (who happens to be Neshat herself), covered in a blanket of black and read Farsi writing.

Neshat explained the photo in accompanying text for The New York Times: "Although the Farsi words written on the works’ surfaces may seem like a decorative device," Neshat wrote, "they contribute significant meaning. The texts are amalgams of poems and prose works mostly by contemporary women writers in Iran. These writings embody sometimes diametrically opposing political and ideological views, from the entirely secular to fanatic Islamic slogans of martyrdom and self-sacrifice to poetic, sensual and even sexual meditations."

7. Lalla Essaydi

Born in Morocco in 1956, Lalla Essaydi creates staged photographs of Arab women, investigating the way power and gender manifest in the ways her subjects pose their bodies in negative space. Many of her images, like Neshat's, involve text -- namely Arabic calligraphy, which is a traditionally male practice in her country. Her image, "Converging Territories #13," on sale at Sotheby's, is one such image.

"My work is really autobiographical," she told PBS, "it’s about my own experiences growing up in Morocco and living as an adult in Saudi Arabia for many years. It’s obviously infused in my work, but my work really goes beyond the Arab world or Arab culture. It really engages Western art and the role in which Arab women are used that I find problematic."

8. Sally Mann

Born in Virginia in 1964, Sally Mann's series "At Twelve: Portraits of Young Women" attempts to capture moments in adolescent girls' lives that neither glamorize nor darken a period marked by constant change and a desire for independence. Throughout her career, Mann has also employed her children as models, further exploring the relationship -- or, perhaps, distance -- between kids and adults, always a camera in between.

While her art has garnered the attention of critics who find her treatment of young girls too controversial, Edward de Grazia, a professor at Benjamin Cardoza School of Law in New York who's focused on censorship of art and literature, says: "What makes Sally such a good case is that right now her work deals squarely with this taboo subject of nude children. There isn’t the slightest question that what she’s doing is art, so her motives and the artistic value would be unmistakable to the Supreme Court. Her work would highlight the vagueness and overbreadth of the child pornography laws. Isn’t work like this entitled to be protected under the First Amendment?"

9. Tina Modotti

Born in Italy in 1896, Assunta Adelaide Luigia Modotti Mondini (also known as Tina) was an actress, activist and artist who before, during and after her marriage to fellow photography Edward Weston managed to create a breathtaking collection of images, mainly in Mexico, before her death in 1942. Most of her work was not fully recognized until a trove of her unseen images was found in a trunk belonging to one of her former lover Roubaix de l’Abrie Richey's descendants.

The image above, taken in 1924-25, could fetch up to $100,000 alone.

10. Francesca Woodman

Born in 1958 in Colorado, Francesca Woodman tended to depict nude women in her photographs, many of whom were captured in ethereal poses and settings, such as the untitled picture of a naked woman and a bird shown above. She was prone to putting herself in front of her camera, positioned in sparse domestic settings that made her body take on a ghostly presence. As many critics have noted, Woodman seemed to have a particular talent in using photography to play with the ways we perceive time.

"Unlike the photographs we take of ourselves today . time itself went into Francesca Woodman’s pictures," Ariana Reines wrote for The Los Angeles Review of Books. "The 'timeless time,' to borrow a phrase from her contemporary Nico, inside Woodman’s photographs, was the time it took to select the elements for their semi-improvisatory making, plus the time it took to take them, behind which was, of course, each contour of every single thing she ever saw or did in her life, as is true for all artists."

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