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The Presence Of Women As Both Subjects And Spaces In Vintage Photography Online

Photographic techniques were invented as early as 1826 by a French scientist who also had the world’s first photograph to his credit. Close to this era, a botanist named Anna Atkins became inspired by such a technique and came up with the Cyanotype. She used the technique to first release a botanical book with ‘photographs’ instead of illustrations.

Women thus were quickly impressed by the artistic possibilities of the photographic techniques, and that’s why Anna replaced artworks in her book with an early form of photographs. There are a plethora of websites today that have such vintage photographs for sale.

Women were almost immediately adapted to the art of photography from the early Victorian era. Vintage, as considered in today’s context, photographs involving female models are aplenty over the internet when one wants to buy art online.

So are the stories about some of the most talented women photographers. Art Lovers can also see a sculpture for sale at display over online portals like and order from there. Similarly, one can buy old photographs for sale from there.

The most notable women behind the lens

Many women were trailblazers in the early days of vintage photography. Western ladies were forerunners. However, Indians were not way behind. Since the earliest photographic equipment was not mass-produced and affordable to the masses before Kodak brought about the first box camera in 1888, only the affluent ladies could nurture such a hobby or take up photography as a profession. Let’s have a look back:

Julia Margaret Cameron

She is a British photographer born in Kolkata (1815). Her daughter at the age of 48 gifted her a camera. She was well known for her celebrity portraiture work but greatly criticized by her contemporaries for using soft focus and close-cropped style in most of her photographs.

Martha Holmes

Martha Holmes is a Kentucky, US-born photojournalist who worked for the famous Life Magazine and later freelanced for it. Her photographs appeared in covers and content of magazines for women, celebrities, and of general interests. She was one of the top 10 female photographers in the US in 1950.

Homai Vyarawalla

Once popularly known by her pseudonym Dalda 13, this Parsi lady was India’s first woman photojournalist who documented the country’s transition from British rule to freedom. She took off with her photographic venture for the Bombay Chronicle in 1938. Her work on people’s daily lives, political events, and celebrities are well documented. She was awarded the prestigious Padma Vibhushan in 2011.

Frances Benjamin Johnston

She is a wealthy American female photographer who wrote: “What a woman can do with a camera” for a women’s journal and co-curated an exhibition of women photographers in 1900.

Dorothea Lange

Famous for her work “Migrant Mother,” she is best known for documenting the Great Depression-era camps that led the US federal government to rush aid there. She is one of the pioneer women in the field of documentary photography.

The most notable women subjects in vintage photography

Nawab Shah Jahan Begum, GCSI of Bhopal

Her photograph was the earliest shot portrait by Bourne and Shepherd Studios in 1877. She recognized herself as a ruler of Bhopal in 1844 at the age of six years. She authored many Urdu books, including her biography Gauhar-i-Iqbal. Also she was an unprecedentedly enlightened woman in an era of Islamic patriarchy.

Maharani Tara Devi of Kashmir

Royal families were ever known for their passion for hunting, and the Maharani poses neatly dressed in a suit, tie, and hat, seated beside her kill of a male sambar. She had herself photographed with 43 partridges in similar hunting attire.

Maharani Rani Kanari of Kapurthala

She had posed in a European dress with a hat in this photograph. Sir Benjamin Stone shot the photo in 1905.

Maharani Suniti Devi of Cooch Behar

W & D Downey of London shot this portrait in 1885. She is the daughter of Keshab Chandra Sen, the founder of Brahmo Samaj.

Maharani Gayatri Devi

Considered the most glamorous among the princely lot, she was the princess of Cooch Behar and later became the Maharani of Jaipur. She was also a political activist who ended the purdah system in Jaipur.


Apart from being both photographer and model, women have also become sculptors since the time of the 19th century first female professional sculptor Harriet Goodhue Hosmer of America. India too had the likes of Mrinalini Mukherjee, a recipient of a British Council scholarship on sculpture, and experimented with tied hemp, ceramic, and bronze as materials. Today vintage photographs of women can seen and bought online. People know about female photographers of the past and express interest in collecting their work online. Web stores like are such a place to buy art online. is a repertoire of vintage photographs for sale. Art lovers can also find old photographs for sale there. It is also a portal that offers an official certificate of authenticity to all who buy a sculpture for sale at this website. This is also applicable to artwork and photographs.

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