“One of the great things about working for 40 years and being 190 years old is you get to see history,” the photographer Tina Barney, who is 72 years old, told a rapt audience last week. She paused for a bit, then continued, “You see so much in 40 years, and yet not much has happened at all.”
Barney was referring to the size of her colorful photographs, which, back in their day, were printed at large sizes rarely seen in the art world, but it was a statement that also could’ve applied to the whole of the panel at which she was speaking: “History/Her Stories: Photographs by Women” at the AIPAD Photography Show in New York, a talk about how female photographers can grapple with—and change—history through their work. Her fellow panelists—Sofia Borges, Sam Contis, LaToya Ruby Frazier, and Liz Deschenes, as well as Museum of Modern Art photography curator Sarah Meister—were more optimistic that women photographers have come a long way. All of them seemed to agree on one point: being a woman in a field dominated by men isn’t easy.
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