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07 Apr 2019

Symposium: The Female Perspective in Documentary Photography

On April 7, in the periferie of the exhibition of Kati Horna and the presentations by Eva Besnyö and Atá Kando, we organise a symposium on the role of the female photographer in documentary photography. 

Is there an equal opportunity? Does a female perspective excist? Can we speak in the continuation of the ‘rediscovery’ of Kati Horna’s work about more female photographers who are unjustly in the shadow of their male colleagues? Keynote speaker Whitney C. Johnson will give an insight into the development of female photographers in the edition of this year WPP a.o.

Photo: Amak Mahmoodian



The symposium ‘The Female Perspective in Documentary Photography takes place on Sunday 7 April. There are lectures, in conversations, artist talks, portfolio viewings, unique museumtours and you can visit 5 exhibitions. Halfway through the day there is an extensive network lunch.

The symposium is organized by Fotodok and will largely be in English. The presentation is in the hands of Delphine Bedel, artist, lecturer, editor and publisher.

Key note speaker: Whitney c. Johnson

Whitney C. Johnson, this year’s chair of the WorPressPhoto jury, is the Vice President, Visuals and Immersive Experiences at National Geographic. Prior to joining the magazine, she was the director of photography at The New Yorker where her work was widely recognized, earning awards from the American Society of Magazine Editors; Awards of Excellence from the Society of Publication Designers; and a Peabody, in collaboration with Human Rights Watch and the photographer Platon. Johnson received a BA in American Literature from Barnard College, and completed MA coursework in American Studies at Columbia University. She serves on the boards of the Alexia Foundation and the W. Eugene Smith Fund. She was a former Jury member of the World Press Photo Contest.

Whitney C. Johnson will give an insight into the development of female photographers in the edition of this year WPP. But she also will sketch a broader perspective in the history, the development and the future of female documentary photographers  in general.

Whitney C. Johnson by © Mark Theissen/National Geographic

Presentations by four influential international female photographers

Four photographers present their own work during the symposium on 7 April and explain how they view the subject. Can certain work only be made by female photographers? Why is it important that female photographers also work in conflict areas. What challenges do they experience in their work. What is important to pay attention to and to work on on this subject?

Amak Mahmoodian (Iran)
Photographer and filmmaker, born in Shiraz, lives in Bristol (UK). In her work, Mahmoodian questions identity and gives social topics a central place in personal stories. Mahmoodian has won various international prizes and her work can be seen worldwide.

Maja Daniels (Sweden)
Swedish photographer who studied journalism and sociology in addition to photography. In her work, Daniels  focuses on the relationship between people. She is particularly interested in subjects where the body plays a role in relation to identity.

© Maja Daniels

Mary F Calvert (USA)
Photojournalist Mary F. Calvert wants to achieve social change with her photography. Calvert is best known for her work in which she highlights human rights from a gender perspective. She is a prize winner in the recent World Press Photo competition with her work on sexual abuse in the US Army.

Olivia Harris (UK)
Olivia Harris is a documentary photographer and filmmaker. She is particularly interested in the changing power dynamics between women and men. Her series about the fight for another abortion law in Ireland was awarded prizes at World Press Photo this year.

Foto van Olivia Harris uit de The Feminine ideal serie

Unique guided tours in the Kati Horna exhibition

Especially for this day you can register for a unique Museumtour of the work of Kati Horna, which can be seen for the first time in the Netherlands. 4 different angles will give you an insight in the work. For example a Fotoproffesional Perspective, A Museummarketing perspective, a social engaged perspective et cetera.


foto © Peter Tijhuis

Interactive lunch and portfolio viewings

The symposium includes a fixed lunch. This is because everyone has to eat and we don’t want to  lose time with attendees spreading around the area. The museumtours take place during lunch. Depending on your registration for the specific tour you will have lunch at the beginning or at the second part of the hour. It is not possible to bring your own lunch or to order an alternative lunch in the museum café.

Tables are placed in the museum on which you can display your portfolio between 10:30 AM and 5:00 PM. It can then be viewed by visitors of the museum and participants of the symposium (300 potential viewers including for sure FOTODOK and Cobra Museum of Modern Art). You can decide to what extent you want to stay with your portfolio for explanations and conversations. The Cobra Museum and FOTODOK will not use a selection procedure in advance.

If you are intrested to show your portofolio to our attendees and visitors, please contact Eric Wie. e.wie@cobra-museum.nl

How do you buy tickets?

For the symposium you have to buy a ticket online in advance. There is limited space for 100 visitors. The ticket is for the complete symposium including lunch. You also need to buy a ticket for the museum. The latter can be done online in advance but may also be at the kassa. You have free access to the museum (not to the symposium) if you have one of the following cards: Museum card, City pass Amsterdam, City pass Amstelveen, Rembrandt pass, Iamsterdam City Card, ICOM, BGL VIP card. If you are not in possession of one of these passes, the entrance fee is € 12.50 (€ 8 for students on presentation of a student pass)

Admission symposium = € 17.50 and € 12.50 for students (on presentation of a student card at the kassa)

So be aware that you need two tickets this day, one for the museum and one for the symposium





If you have any questions please let us know: e.wie@cobra-museum.nl

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