Starting from the 1st of July until the 22nd of September 2019, the photographic festival Arles- Les
rencontres de la photographie in Provence, will display an exhibition entirely dedicated to
three female photographers. Unretouched Women shows an interesting excursus of the works
of authors and photographers Eve Arnold, Abigail Heyman and Susan Meiselas, who back in the
70s have been at the center of the feminism wave that shook the United States.
Indeed, it was in the very heart of the 1970s that these artists published three works that
contributed to give a shape and a face to the feminist ideas of the time. The books show the lives of
women at work and in their intimacy, through stories, testimonies and powerful images. Their
contribution guaranteed an alternative point of view to that typically male, a more intimate and
sympathetic look by women for women.
“Growing Up Female” by Abigail Heyman was published in 1974 and is a feminist personal
diary in which through a series of images the author questions the conditions of women confined in
A similar intervention was that of Eve Arnold, who in 1976 publishes “The Unretouched
Woman”, in which appear some women involved in everyday situations or in private
atmospheres. The author neither retouched nor perfected the images, on the contrary, she left the
context and the protagonists immaculate, providing keys of reading before then unexplored.
The third book on display is “Carnival strippers”, published the same year as Arnold’s, edited
by Susan Meiselas. The photographer has enclosed in it the three years of study of the activities of
striptease in the country fairs of North-East America. The work contains interesting photos and
testimonies of women describing their job and talking about their dreams and ambitions.
The photographs in the exhibition mark a path at times raw and realistic, exploring on one hand
the female body, the raw reality experienced by some of them, their jobs, the domestic environment
and highlighting on the other their strength and freedom of self-determination.
words Ludovica Mucci