Cover image for In real life : six women photographers
In real life : six women photographers
Sills, Leslie.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Holiday House, [2000]

Physical Description:
80 pages : illustrations (some color) ; 27 cm
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG 7.7 2.0 51220.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
TR139 .S48 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
TR139 .S48 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



The lives and works of Imogene Cunningham, Dorothea Lange, Lola Alvarez Bravo, Carrie Mae Weems, Elsa Dorfman and Cindy Sherman.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 7^-12. The author of Inspirations (1989) and Visions (1993) offers another outstanding collected biography of female artists. The artists--Imogene Cunningham, Dorothea Lange, Lola Alvarez Bravo, Carrie Mae Weems, Elsa Dorfman, and Cindy Sherman--represent widely disparate backgrounds and nearly a century of photographic excellence. In plain, direct language, Sills focuses on the artists' work, weaving in biographical details as they relate to the women's careers and beautifully articulating the significance of each artist's body of work within her larger cultural context. In discussing individual works, all well reproduced, Sills guides readers through the basics of how to look at and interpret photographs by questioning the photographer's subject, composition, lighting, and processing choices: "Is she trying to educate her audience, show a particular side of humanity, portray beauty, or make us laugh? Would her work be considered documentary, portraiture, abstract, or fantasy? Most important, what is the feeling you have when viewing the photograph?" Much more than just a biographical resource, this outstanding volume will help give young people the confidence to approach not only photography but also all the visual arts. The book concludes with an overview of camera mechanics and suggested reading lists. For other recent biographies of women photographers, direct readers to Elizabeth Partridge's Restless Spirit (1998) and Susan Goldman Rubin's Margaret Bourke White: Her Pictures Were Her Life (1999). --Gillian Engberg

Publisher's Weekly Review

Sills's (Inspirations: Stories About Women Artists) eye-opening introduction to a half-dozen strong, often pioneering women photographers focuses on how their lives, experiences and imaginations influenced their work. At the beginning of the century, Imogen Cunningham (1883-1976) staged deliberate and stylized compositions that proved photographs could not only record real life but also "be an artist's creation." (O'Keeffe fans can't help but notice the similarity between Cunningham's photograph Magnolia Blossom, 1925 and the painter's close-ups of flowers; the two artists were contemporaries.) Dorothea Lange's (1895-1965) photographs, on the other hand, were deemed "documentary." Her work chronicling Dust Bowl casualties and the plight of sharecroppers during the Depression precipitated government relief in the form of food and improved living facilities. Lola Alvarez Bravo (1907-1993) wanted her work to lovingly "stand for a Mexico that once existed," as she photographed a post-revolution Mexico. She acknowledges a debt to her painter friends, such as Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo and Jos Clemente Orozco (who taught her about light, composition, etc.). For the three modern photographers included, Sills offers much less biographical information and therefore readers may feel more distanced from them. Still, she makes a strong case for the contributions of Carrie Mae Weems, perhaps best known for a series of photos that takes a critical look at the way U.S. culture views African Americans in "American Icons" (1988-1989); and of Elsa Dorfman, whose friendship with the Beat poets inspired her to record "everyday life." In perhaps the most accessible example for young readers, Sills makes the connection between Cindy Sherman's childhood love for playacting and dress-up, and her famous staged self-portraits, each of which hint at a mysterious story. Supported throughout by well-chosen selections of each woman's work, this attractive volume may inspire a new generation to take up the camera. Ages 10-up. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 6 Up-A celebration of the diverse careers and artistic styles of six photographers whose work spans nearly a century. Veterans Dorothea Lange, Imogen Cunningham, and Lola Alvarez Bravo are featured along with relative newcomers Elsa Dorfman, Carrie Mae Weems, and Cindy Sherman. In an upbeat voice, Sills traces the women's early lives and the events that propelled them to explore the world with a camera in hand, often breaking down ethnic and gender barriers in the process. While she does justice to the biographical details of her subjects, her discussions of their individual techniques suffer because there are too few photographs. The chapter on Lange, for example, has only nine photographs, and while five of them depict her evocative portraits of Dust Bowl refugees, they fail to reveal the breadth of her talent. Chapters on Bravo and Weems include just six representative works of each artist. However, an excellent bibliography and list of Web sites will point readers to sources containing additional visual elements.-William McLoughlin, Brookside School, Worthington, OH (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.