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?”.
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“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