March is Women’s History Month, a great time to take the opportunity to recognize achievements, struggles, and experiences of women by telling their stories and exploring individual contributions to history as well as contemporary life. This month, we’re taking a look at a few of the notable women photographers whose work lives in the California Historical Society collections. Visit our digital library or visit our headquarters on Mission Street to explore them for yourself.
Nina A. Page’s panoramic photographs of Los Angeles and San Francisco, 1902
Little is known about the photographer of this collection held at the California Historical Society. Comprising 19 panoramic photographs taken by Nina A. Page in 1902, it includes wonderful images of Bonnie Brae Street in Los Angeles from around the turn of the century. The photographs were taken using a Kodak Panoram No. 4 camera.
Patti J. Walters’ photographs of San Francisco, 1971-1974
Patti J. Walters’ collection of photographs on the California Historical Society’s digital library capture San Francisco streets and street life in the early 1970s. Patti Walters was the founding director of the Architectural Design Program at Stanford University and taught architecture classes at the school for three decades. This collection of images, digitized from 35mm negatives, were taken in downtown San Francisco: Market Street, Union Square, and Portsmouth Square, as well as Golden Gate Park, Ocean Beach, and Playland. According to the photographer, the original black and white photographs were taken with a Nikkormat camera using a mix of Tri-X and Plus-X 35mm film.
Laura Adams Armer’s photograph collection, 1899-1939
Laura Adams Armer (1874-1963) was, at various times in her life, a photographer, film director, artist, and author, however, she was primarily a photographer. Her photographs of San Francisco people and streets are as noteworthy as the portraits she created of prominent San Franciscans and celebrities. Adams-Armer shunned the portrait style of her contemporaries and photographed her subjects in a more natural manner, catching her subjects in “unposed” moments.