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Historic photographs bring female protest to the fore in new exhibition

The first Women's Liberation Movement march, London, 1971
(Image credit: © Sally Fraser/Report IFL Archive/reportdigital.co.uk)

An exhibition exploring how women’s resistance has resonated across generations has just opened at Four Corners in London, England. It takes place as part of Women’s History Month in East London and focuses on the perspectives of women and non-binary photographers who use imagery as a way of supporting social and political change.

The exhibition, 'Photographing Protest: Resistance Through a Feminist Lens', aims to challenge the male-dominated history of reporting protests and what it means for the representation of the resistance. There will be sit-ins, street theater performances, candlelight vigils and deportation campaigns as well as work from the likes of Tessa Howland, Loraine Leeson, Sheila Gray and Maggie Murray.

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Activist photographer Sally Fraser, whose images are rarely seen, will be exhibiting photos from various social movements from 1968 including the Hornsey Art College student sit-in to the explosive beginnings of the Woman's Liberation Movement. The all-womxn’s photo agency Format will also be displaying photos from social protests in the Eighties and Nineties such as the Greenham Common women's peace camp and the Miner's Strike frontline. 

As well as celebrating the womxn who have documented the feminist side of protest, the exhibition will also explore a new age of photographers who are engaging with contemporary struggles such as anti-racism, LGBTQIA+ community rights and climate justice, while addressing how feminist protest photography can create real political change. 

Coinciding with the exhibition, there will be a series of online talks produced in collaboration with Kylie Thomas at the Netherlands Institute for War in Amsterdam, and the editor of a special edition of MAI: Feminism and Visual culture journal on photography and resistance which will be published in Spring 2022.

The Photographing Protest exhibition (opens in new tab) is funded by the National Lottery through Arts Council England, and is one of the exhibitions that form part of Communities of Resistance, Four Corners’ cultural program 2022. It is free to enter and will be open from 18 March - 30 April. 

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Hannah Rooke
Hannah Rooke

Having studied Journalism and Public Relations at the University of the West of England Hannah developed a love for photography through a module on photojournalism. She specializes in Portrait, Fashion and lifestyle photography but has more recently branched out in the world of stylized product photography. For the last 3 years Hannah has worked at Wex Photo Video as a Senior Sales Assistant using her experience and knowledge of cameras to help people buy the equipment that is right for them. With 5 years experience working with studio lighting, Hannah has run many successful workshops teaching people how to use different lighting setups.