Eventos Académicos, 39 ISCHE. Educación y emancipación

Tamaño de fuente: 
Visualizing girls’ place in coeducational photography schools: is emancipation possible?(
Vera Leon

Última modificación: 2017-07-17


This presentation will present some preliminary results from my PhD research entitled Becoming a Photographer. Gender, Training and Jobs in France (1945-1975). Indeed, it is well known that many women were committed to the Parisian photographic field between the wars (Rosenblum, 1994) but very little gender-focused research has been done on the next period. Yet my research has revealed that after WW2, the proportion of girls studying at the prestigious Louis Lumière National school of photography decreased severely. In 1947, they represent 50% of the students, and in 1975 only 5% remain. This masculinization process undoubtedly points out an evolution of gender relations in the field over this period.

The place of girls in photography schools, i.e. coeducational schools preparing to technical professions that are socially constructed as masculine, question the link between education and emancipation. How do girls experience the transmission of gendered and professional norms throughout the schooling process that transform them into photographers? In addition to interviews that enable the writing of their (oral) history, the use of images as historical sources promises to yield new perspectives. How are girls and boys represented at work in those pictures, and how do they seem to interact? Is it possible to consider coeducational technical education as an emancipative space and time for girls?

Pictures printed in publications dedicated to the photography schools, to career choice and to professional photography will be at the center of this presentation. Indeed, these pictures illustrate apprenticeship, training, schools, but also give rare information about the vision of gender relationships in those spaces, in a frequently stereotypical way. Therefore, the comparison with personal pictures taken by students and laid by alumni interviewed in the framework of this research is necessary. Whereas these more informal photographs of everyday school life are not free from gender norms and stereotypes, they confirm girls have taken on diverse roles and developed rich experiences and relationships within their social, pedagogical and professional environment.

Thus, personal visual and oral sources contradict the continuum of educative and professional representations reducing girls in photography to very specific functions (most of the time, be either a model or a retouch worker). They allow to construct an enlarged point of view, opening the possibility for girls to emancipate themselves as subject of their own education and as producer of their own images.