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Important words from 4 historical female artists.

We all know that women have been largely excluded from what is considered the historical art canon since the days of its nascent development--and it is thrilling to, in recent years, see a greater spotlight on non-male artists both past and present. This Women's History Month, we'll be showcasing our artists—historical and contemporary—who identify as women.

Here are some subversive, inspiring, and downright cheeky words from four of our favorites from history—Dorothea Lange, Berenice Abbott, Hilma af Klint and Florine Stettheimer. 

“Bad as it is, the world is potentially full of good photographs. But to be good, photographs have to be full of the world.”

From a 1952 essay on contemporary photography


A human being  

Saw my light 

Rushed in 

Got singed 

Got scared 

Rushed out 

Called fire 

Or it happened  

That he tried  

To subdue it 

Or it happened  

That he tried to extinguish it

From a poem published posthumously in Crystal Flowers, 1949

"There were women, like Margaret Bourke-White, but there weren't many women photographers and that didn't make it easier. Women did not wear slacks then; they wore skirts. When I photographed New York, I put on ski pants. Truck drivers yelled at me, 'Lady, take that off.' It bothered me, it even bothered me when people gathered around as I was setting up my camera in the street. But I found in New York the best way is to ignore them, as if they weren't there."

On first photographing in New York City, 1929

“You have mystery service ahead, and will soon enough realize what is expected of you.”

From her last journal entry, 1944