Cynthia MacAdams – Emergence

Watching more telly while having to stay at home is no bad thing if you find something that you would have missed in normal times. I wouldn’t have subscribed to Netflix if I wasn’t spending so much time indoors. Searching around on there I came across a documentary based around the photographic book Emergence by Cynthia MacAdams.

The book was published in 1977 and is a collection of portraits of women making their mark on the feminist movement during that time. The documentary Feminists: What Were They Thinking? by Johanna Demetrakas is a series of interviews carried out with some of the people who appear in the book and also shows the reaction to the book by women from a younger generation.

Finding a copy of the book was a real challenge. It is a rare book. Even secondhand most were way over my budget. However, I did manage to track one down on an Internet auction site from Germany.

Looking at the photographs, I’m pretty amazed how contemporary they feel. Sure, you may have to over look the fashion of the 70s but the message in images over forty years on is still relevant today.

When I started this project, the photographers and artists was from a very small pool. My knowledge was based on seeing work by the big names in bookshops or galleries. The longer I have been doing this, the more my eyes have opened to the ocean of great work that is sometimes hidden. It does annoy me how far superior artists or photographers, many of them women, get overshadowed by ones with a good publicity machine.