29 August, 2013

Eight Girls Taking Pictures by Whitney Otto [Biddy, Highland Park Library]

An intriguing story that takes the reader on a journey with eight women whose passion for their art makes it difficult to find the balance they seek in order to fulfill the roles expected of them by society.Six of the characters are based on real photographers such as Imogen Cunningham and Lee Miller. All are fascinating bohemian characters. It is only evident some way into the book that the characters are connected by a slim thread as they influence each others' lives and art.

The story is set in diverse locations from San Francisco and New York, to London, Berlin and Buenos Aires. It covers most of the 20th century, starting in 1910 where - whilst in London-Cymbeline, one of the photographers, attends a mass rally for Women's Rights in Hyde Park. In the 1920's we meet the extraordinary Lenny van Pelt - a young woman "unable to obey rules - who lives a hedonistic life with her group of friends in America and later becomes the muse and apprentice to a Parisian surrealist photographer.

Otto's vivid descriptions pull the reader into the times and places that her heroines move in. This book is an engaging read, particularly for those with an interest in photography, women's history and feminist literature.

Author: Whitney Otto
ISBN: 9781451682694
Published: 2012
Publisher: Simon & Schuster, New York

 - Biddy, Highland Park Library

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