A New Woman: Fanny Benjamin Johnston

Self Portrait as "New Woman"

Self Portrait as “New Woman”

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“While Johnston was running her studio in Washington, feminist campaigns to secure the vote and other rights were encouraging women to break out of their domestic roles. In 1897, she published an article in the Ladies’ Home Journal urging women to consider photography as a means of supporting themselves. “To an energetic, ambitious woman with even ordinary opportunities, success is always possible,” she wrote, adding that “hard, intelligent and conscientious work seldom fails to develop small beginnings into large results.” Johnston also used her influence to help other American female artists—for example, arranging exhibits of their work for the 1900 Paris Exposition. Her portraits of Susan B. Anthony, taken that same year, capture the stoic determination that the feminist leader needed—for half a century—to hold together the competing groups working toward women’s suffrage. And yet there is no evidence that Johnston ever participated in a feminist campaign.”  http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history-archaeology/Victorian-Womanhood-in-All-Its-Guises.html

A nice room of her own.

A nice room of her own.

American sensuality in studio.

American sensuality in studio.

Portrait of artist.

Portrait of artist.

Photographer's studio

Photographer’s studio

Images Library of Congress