National Geographic

Before lockdown in March 2020, I saw this book “Women: The National Geographic Image Collection” in a Waterstones bookshop and vowed to get it another day. Two years later that day has come and I now have the book in my hands.

First impression of this book is how US centric it is. To give you an example, there is no mention of other countries having the vote for women. Which surprised me, as I was under the impression that National Geographic was about reporting from around the world. Instead it is from the perspective of America being center (sic) stage.

This book does not hide the fact that the publication is as a result of the #MeToo campaign. Not the 2006 campaign by Tarana Burke but following the events surrounding Harvey Weinstein. I can’t help feeling that no matter how you dress this up there is a strong smell of band wagon jumping with this book.

I really wanted to be inspired by the contents of this book but wasn’t. I’m wondering if this book hasn’t aged well since it was printed in 2019. Or if I had higher hopes with this archive.

Let me put it this way, if you are a landscape photographer and you follow the advice of the sign put up in a beauty spot in where to take a picture, yes it might be a perfectly acceptable image but there is definitely a deeper story to the location. There is more to the story about women from around the world than this book does justice to.

It is sad to see the changes in Afghanistan. And what is happening with Roe v. Wade in the US. If this book is a celebration of women it does feel like one step forward and three steps back.