From Fringes to the Frontline: Melanie Abrams

Since the 1930’s Robert Capa has been described as defining war photography and how it should be approached. Ever sine it left a mark on the medium that has implied that war photography was essentially a mans job. “Women war photographers have been largely sidelined.” says Abrams, but todays generation has way more women working in war zones and with in warfare than there was in the 1930s.

Susan Meiselas, a U.S. photographer known for her photography of Nicaragua’s 1970’s civil war, is only one of seven women at the Magnum photo agency, out of a total of 79 international photographers. British photographer Jenny Mathews explains its harder for women to integrate themselves into war photography because of the assumption among men that women “don’t have the killer instinct, or the the persistence to hang around in the rain with a heavy bag.”

Women photojournalists may find themselves patronized but this works to their advantage. “Though the secrete service was on our case, we were not taken seriously because we were women. It helped us get around and get our story.” says Mathews. Susan Measles agrees with the same kind of statement, and claims “Women have the advantage of being less threatening. So I could go into the homes (of Sandinista rebels) if given permission, and take photos because that is were the wounded were taken.” Every photographer regardless of gender is driven by the desire to take one image that captures the moment in the most powerful way. Julian Edelstein says “When you’re in it, you’re doing the job…you don’t think about being a woman.”




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