For much of history, women have been forced to occupy a position one notch lower than that of men. This is very apparent when you look at old photographs of academicians and professionals posing in groups—class pictures of school, association, company, office, club, court, government body and political movement. An overwhelming majority of these groups were all male. But sometimes you can espy a single woman sneaking in from behind.
When American documentary filmmaker Immy Humes trawled through the archives, she felt like playing “Where’s Waldo?”.
“I found pleasure in spotting these solitary women, and then, most of all, unraveling the mystery of them: What were they doing there?,” writes Immy Humes in her new book The Only Woman, which collects one hundred photographs of groups of men—artists, workers, musicians, dentists, lawyers—with only a single woman. These pictures span more than a century and a half, from 1862 to 2020, and were taken in 20 countries. Can you spot the woman in these photographs?
Medical student Anna Searcy in 1897
Artist Hedda Sterne in 1951
Anti-imperialist Geraldine “Dinah” Stock, circa 1945
Unknown nurse in Boston, Massachusetts, 1890
Katharine Graham, publisher of the Washington Post, in 1975
Martha Gellhorn, War Correspondent, Cassino, Italy, 1944
Benazir Bhutto, Politician, Pakistan, 1988
Graciela, a pioneering Afro-Cuban jazz singer, at a concert in New York, New York, US, 1947
Gloria Richardson, Civil-rights leaders meet with Robert F. Kennedy, Washington, D.C., 1963
Mia Westerlund Roosen. Artists celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Leo Castelli Gallery, New York City, 1982
Lisette Dammas, jury for the espionage trial of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, New York City, 1951
Lil Hardin, musician and songwriter, in Chicago, USA, 1923
Marie Curie, physicist and chemist, in Brussels, Belgium, 1911
Athlete Kathrine Switzer in 1967
Actress Marlene Dietrich in Europe in 1945
Peruvian journalist Angela Ramos in 1929
Civil rights leader Gloria Richardson in Cambridge, Maryland, 1963
Boxing promoter Florence North in 1922
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