José Luis Picón I Málaga, (EFE).- There are still countries with many pending achievements, but the last century has seen great advances for women that have attested to the objectives of National Geographic photographers, as shown by the exhibition that opens this Wednesday the cultural center La Térmica de Málaga.
Its curator, the photojournalist Marisa Flórez, explains to EFE in a tour of the exhibition that this is “a journey throughout all these years in which the evolution in this time is perfectly seen, how women are photographed and why as well as how it has been considered”.
“It is a way of seeing the evolution, how it has come to these days and how little by little women have been gaining rights and opportunities and occupying positions within society,” she adds.
National Geographic organized the first exhibition on this subject in Washington in 2019, on the occasion of the centenary of the amendment that allowed women to vote in the US, and then selected 450 photographs from its archive with more than 60 million images accumulated since its founding in 1888.
From that first selection, Flórez chose the photographs that make up this exhibition, some of which are seen for the first time in Malaga, such as the oldest, from 1918, the work of a pioneer in the trade such as Eliza R. Scidmore.
First permanent woman in the squad
“She was the first woman hired permanently on the staff of National Geographic, in 1907. In 1914 the first colored photos of her, who deeply admired Japanese culture, were published,” as this image of three women from that country, dressed in kimonos, shows. traditional, posing behind cherry blossoms.
The second unpublished image is from another great photographer, the American Jodi Cobb, who in 1980 captured Wendy Fitzwilliam, Miss Trinidad and Tobago, dressed for the “typical costume” category during the Miss Universe pageant in Hawaii.
The last exclusive photo in Malaga was signed by Randy Olson in 2007 and stars several Ghanaian schoolgirls carrying chairs on their heads to help prepare for the opening ceremony of a maternity clinic.
There are images that speak of physical strength, such as that of the Chinese farmer who yokes pots of food to workers harvesting rice, and others of emotional strength, such as that of the mother who cradles her 12-year-old son after losing this one both eyes from a sniper shot in Yemen.
The most recent photograph is from 2018 and shockingly confronts how two women enjoy the festival of love and colors Holi Parade in New York with how they experience the same ceremony in India in another image, a country where they were previously forbidden.
Optimistic and hopeful exhibition
But an image has also been selected that is in everyone’s retina, that of the Afghan refugee Sharbat Gula, who when she was 12 years old was on the cover of “National Geographic” magazine and was photographed again eighteen years later.
As the curator points out, in some of the oldest photos it can be guessed that their author is a man, because “the way of looking is very curious”, and an example is that of five dancers posing on a street in Washington in 1929 and that almost limit the condition of a woman to that of an object.
All in all, the exhibition tries to be optimistic and has a section dedicated to hope, in which there is a photo of a girl dressed in white in Indonesia, escorted by six women completely covered in black robes, which contains the message “of the desire to that the new generations will come to change this”, according to Flórez.
Or it can also be a picture of hope, of a woman who, with a child in her arms, asks for alms through the window of a car in Bombay.
“How can it be hope that a person asks for a coin? You think ‘how sad!’ But his hope every day is to have that coin that allows him to move forward ”, highlights the curator.
“It is an exhibition that allows you to think later. It’s not just to come and see, but at the end it makes you stop and think a bit. They are great photos, but the message is also important”, adds Flórez. EFE