In his 1830 essay “On History”, Thomas Carlyle observed – 

“history is the essence of innumerable biographies.”


In celebration of International Women’s Day 2018, I launched a new online resource about early women photographers.  Each photographer features a brief summary of their life and work, plus images if available.

These women are rarely highlighted, but were pioneers of the brand new photographic art, mostly active pre-1860.  It is intended as a catalyst for further research, assembling the fullest account of known biographical information to date.  Additional information about any of the featured women is always welcome, as are contributions from fellow biographers.

“It remains to be answered why, in light of these facts, so few names of 19th century women photographers are known and why this phenomenon is never discussed in the history textbooks.”  Bill Jay, Women in Photography: 1840 – 1900 [1]

2018 also saw The Royal Photographic Society’s Hundred Heroines campaign to highlight the contribution made by female photographers. My nominations for pre-1860 Historical Heroines can be seen here.

Following further research there are seven confirmed women members of the Photographic Society in 1853.  This is based on analysis of the 1853 membership listed on

Five women were the subject of a Lunchtime Lecture on 3rd May 2018 discussing who should be viewed as the first female photographer in Britain.  The title was given to Anna Atkins and her life and legacy was the subject of a symposium talk on 3rd November 2018 at New York Public Library.

[1] First published in The British Journal of Photography, 20 March