British photographic history

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Publication: Hold Still, Madame. Wartime Gender and the Photography of Women

Hold Still, Madame. Wartime Gender and the Photography of Women in France during the Great War is a PDF ebook under a Creative Commons License by Dr Nicole Hudgkins. It investigates French images of women during the First World War, the feminine postures and roles captured by photographers, how female images were used in the wartime media and by the state, and how captions and other textual modes strengthened an overarching message of total consent.

By analysing the three most prominent genres of female imagery during the period – women in distress, feminine devotion, and women toiling for the war effort – this book seeks to demonstrate how photography assisted in the gender work of the war. Photographers and publishers showed how traditional feminine traits could contribute to a male-designed and directed war effort, while also concealing instances of female dissent, which included feminist, socialist, popular and pacifist objections to the war. Yet, although the archives contain few wartime images created by French women themselves, this work also introduces a small group of period photographs, lithographs, articles and literary works that disrupted the visual narrative of subordination.


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