Otto, Whitney. Eight Girls Taking Pictures
In these eight loosely connected stories, Otto portrays the lives and struggles of eight women photographers through the 20th century. Six of the eight are based on real photographers, including Ruth Orkin; Imogene Cunningham; and Lee Miller, and astute readers will recognize their lives and works in these fictionalized tales. All eight women are interesting and bohemian, ahead of their time in many ways; they take lovers of both genders, travel the world, get caught up in wars and revolutions. But at the same time, all struggle to balance their creative impulses and careers as artists with their domestic roles as wives and mothers.
As the stories continue, some may feel that the eight women are insufficiently differentiated, their lives and inner thoughts so similar, their struggles much the same despite differing time periods and differing countries. But in this similarity perhaps lies Otto’s underlying point in portraying these eight women…the more things change, the more they stay the same. Despite decades of social change and the groundbreaking women who have come before, the later women still face the same struggles as their predecessors.