Photos: London Museum of Art
Christina Broom, an unsung pioneer of photography, is finally getting recognition thanks to a fascinating exhibit at the Museum of London Docklands.
Broom began her photographic career at the age of 40 after her husband suffered a cricket injury and was no longer able to be the family breadwinner. From that life-changing moment in 1903 until her death in 1939, this remarkable woman made 40,000 images.
Although there were definitely other woman working in photography studios at the time, Broom is distinguished for taking to the streets and documenting newsworthy events of her time — including many of the pivotal political and social movements of her day. Because of this legacy, she is widely heralded as one of the most important figures in early U.K. press photography.
In the photo above, we see nurses and midwives marching in the Pageant of Women's Trades and Professions on April 27, 1909.
As Anna Sparham, the curator of photographs for the Museum of London, explains, "Broom successfully positioned her camera at the heart of momentous occasions both of London and national importance, capturing the beauty of a Suffragette spectacle alongside the poignancy of a soldier departing for War."
Titled "Soldiers and Suffragettes: The Photography of Christina Broom," the exhibit was organized following the museum's recent acquisition of 2,500 of Broom's photographs. To supplement the already rich collection, several key works by Broom were loaned to "Soldiers and Suffragettes" by the Royal Collections, the National Portrait Gallery and the University of Texas-Austin.
In the video below, learn more about Broom and how the subject matter of her photographs evolved over her career:
The exhibit is free and runs until November 2015, so check it out in person if you have a chance. In the meantime, continue below for a brief look at the characters found in Broom's expansive portfolio.
"4th Battalion Grenadier Guards look to the camera during their Christmas meal at Chelsea Barracks, 1914"
"Christabel Pankhurst, co-founder of the Women's Social and Political Union (WSPU), photographed inside The Women's Exhibition"
"Portrait of a State Coachman at the Royal Mews, 1920"
"The Oxford rowing team at the University boat race, with photographer Alexander Korda at the water's edge, Putney, 1911"
"Women police officers and Inspector Mary Allen, a former suffragette, at the Women’s War Work Exhibition, London, 1916"
"King Edward VII, Queen Alexandra, future King George V and Queen Mary, and Princess Victoria at the Duke of York's School, Chelsea, 1908"
"An early Broom photograph taken along Oxford Street, circa 1905"
"Bayonet practice for the 1st Irish Guards at Chelsea Barracks, in either 1911 or 1912"
"Suffragettes taking part in a pageant organized by the National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies, June 13, 1908"
"Saint George and the young knight, at the Army Pageant, Fulham Palace, 1910"
"The first American contingent of the War, briefly in Wellington Barracks, 1917"
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