Founded by Fiona Rogers, Firecracker began in 2011 as a platform showcasing the work of women photographers, and has grown to include an annual grant, and now Firecrackers: Female Photographers Now, a book published this month by Thames & Hudson. The collection includes photographs and profiles of 33 photographers from around the world. As Rogers writes in the introduction, “we did not have a specific ‘criteria,’ but our emphasis was on the contemporary, the best or the surprising,” and the book presents “a breadth of subjects, aesthetic styles and backgrounds.” The result is a snapshot of global photographic practices, which drives home the diversity of female perspectives. Ying Ang’s series “Gold Coast” explores the brooding underworld of the Australian coastline where she grew up. Chloe Dewe Mathews’s series “Caspian” documents a shifting culture of wealth in Kazakhstan. Behnaz Babazadeh explores the cross-cultural meaning of being a veiled woman, in projects such as her tongue-in-cheek “Edible Burka” series, which pictures women in coverings made from licorice, cotton candy and other treats.
As Max Houghton writes in the book’s foreword, “To make an art book with exclusively female work will always be seen as a kind of provocation.” But at a time when women continue to be underrepresented in the highest ranks of the art world, Houghton argues, “How women see the world has not dominated discourse, and whenever the opportunity arises to redress this imbalance, it is necessary to seize it.”