Lee Miller was famous for her shots of the second world war, but there were many other women in the line of fire whose photographs have faded into obscurity: meet Gerda Taro, Catherine Leroy and Françoise Demulder
My new novel has a fictional woman photographer as its protagonist (Amory Clay, 1908-83), one whose working life occupies a large swath of the 20th century and, in the course of my research into the profession, I uncovered what seemed to me like a forgotten sorority of female photographers. In the first half of the last century such photographers were legion – they flourished and happily made their living and reputation alongside their male counterparts, and it was something of a revelation to discover these names and look at the images they made. I say “forgotten”, but no doubt if you’re a curator or a historian of photography or a specialist in the development of the art form then the names of these female photographers will be familiar – but they weren’t to me and, as I looked and read and dug deeper into their world, I became more and more astonished at the work I discovered.
William Boyd’s new novel, Sweet Caress, is published on 27 August.