In the first of our Ideal Photography Dinner Guests blog series, Engager, writer and photographer Charlie Moss picks the three photographers from throughout history she would most like to spend an evening with.
‘Ultimately,’ writes Charlie, ‘I would like to ask all three of them what their goals and ambitions would be today, now that we have a society that is moving towards equality. Would they be different? Would they follow the same paths? What would they make of our world? I’d ask them how we think we can do better as a photography community, and how they think we should move forward.’
French surrealist photographer
1894 – 1954
My first pick would be Claude Cahun. I’d like to know about his involvement as part of the resistance during the Second World War. What it was like to live as a man when born female in the early part of the 20th century? (We’ve had The Danish Girl, now do we get The French Boy?) I’d like to ask why he decided to translate Havelock Ellis’ theories on third gender, and what that meant for his world. And I’d like to ask about where his inspiration came for the surrealist tableaux and self portraits that he shot.
Julia Margaret Cameron
British portrait photographer
1815 – 1879
I would ask Julia about what it was like being a photographer in residence for the Victoria and Albert Museum (the first, I believe), and about where she found her inspiration for her incredibly modern and revolutionary work. What led her to the conclusion that pictures didn’t have to be sharp? If she did it all again, would she still shoot the famous men that she did, considering that more people know her now as ‘the woman that photographed Tennyson’ rather than for her work in it’s own right?
Constance Fox Talbot
Apparently the first woman to ever take a photograph
1811 – 1880
I would ask Constance if she thought that she would be largely ignored in favour of her husband, the photographer William Henry Fox Talbot, in the future, considering she almost certainly had near-equal input into his scientific discoveries (this also happened with Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s partner, who was equally as famous as him in their time). I’d ask her what it’s like to be the first woman ever to take a photograph, but to be largely missed out in the annuls of history.