Lecture: “I know what I’m doing” – Women Photographers in the West Coast Camera Club Environment, circa 1900

Image: unknown photographer, [California Camera Club group portrait], no date. The Bancroft Library UC Berkeley.

Women Photographers in the West Coast Camera Club Environment Lecture

Wednesday, August 30th, 6:00 p.m.

at Cascadia Art Museum

190 Sunset Ave. S., #E • Edmonds, WA 98020, USA

At the turn of the century, as camera clubs were springing up across the country, the San Francisco-based California Camera Club was not only the largest in the country. It also had a 14% female membership – twice the national average. Taking the California Camera Club as a point of departure, this talk traces how western clubs served as networks for aspiring female photographers from Los Angeles to Seattle, inspiring many, like Oregon-born Adelaide Hanscom, to claim their legitimate place in the male-dominated camera world and declare “I know what I’m doing.” Amid western photographers celebrating Gold Rush pioneers, monumental landscapes, and industrial extraction, female photographers along the Pacific Coast found ways to shift, and at times disrupt, the common booster rhetoric and shape western American photography in the long term.

Dr. Carolin Görgen

Carolin Görgen is Associate Professor of American Studies at Sorbonne Université. A historian of photography and the American West, she obtained her PhD from the University Paris-Diderot and the École du Louvre. She currently works on a book project exploring the history of the California Camera Club. Her work has received support from the Terra Foundation for American Art, the Beinecke Library at Yale, the Huntington Library, and the Amon Carter Museum. She recently obtained the research prize of the German Photographic Society and is a 2023 Thomas Mann Fellow.

For tickets and more details, go to the direct link.