The International Photography Hall of Fame Honors Four Women

The International Photography Hall of Fame (IPHF) honored four remarkable female photographers in its 2023 awards.

Last week, photographers Nan Goldin, Bea Nettles, and Vivan Maier were inducted into the IPHF. Meanwhile, Matika Wilbur became the recipient of the IPHF’s Visionary Award.

The Professional Photographers of America’s primary objective, when establishing the Photographic Art and Science Foundation, was to promote the history of art and industry. In 1965, the Foundation’s mission extended to include a permanent commitment to acknowledging historical photographers and inventors. This initiative eventually led to the creation of the IPHF and Museum in 1977.

For the last 55 years, the IPHF has granted honors annually to those “who demonstrate the artistry, passion, and evolution of the past and present art and science of photography.”

Nan Goldin is an American photographer and activist. Her work often explores LGBT subcultures, moments of intimacy, the HIV/AIDS crisis, and the opioid epidemic. Goldin’s most notable work is The Ballad of Sexual Dependency — which documents the post-Stonewall, gay subculture and includes Goldin’s family and friends.

Last year, a documentary film about Goldin and her fight to hold a pharmaceutical firm accountable for the U.S. opioid crisis has won the top Golden Lion award at the Venice Film Festival, only the second time a documentary has won the illustrious prize.

Vivian Maier was an American street photographer whose massive, unseen body of work came to light when it was purchased from an auction in Chicago in 2007. Consistently taking photographs over five decades, she would ultimately leave behind over 100,000 negatives.

While Maier’s photographs have compelled viewers around the world since being brought to the public eye there is much that remains unknown about the enigmatic woman behind the lens.

Bea Nettles explores the narrative potential of photography through constructed images often made with alternative photographic processes. Combining craft and photography, Nettles’s work makes use of wide-ranging tools and materials, including fabric and stitching, instamatic cameras, the book format, manually applied color, and hand‐coated photographic emulsions. Her imagery evokes metaphors that reference key stages in the lives of women, often with autobiographic undertones.

Matika Wilbur, who became the recipient of the Visionary Award, is a critically acclaimed social documentarian and photographer from the Swinomish and Tulalip peoples of coastal Washington. Project 562, a crowd-funded initiative to visit, engage, and photograph people from over 562 sovereign Tribal Nations in North America, is her fourth major creative venture elevating Native American identity and culture.

The IPHF hosts annual photography competitions, exhibits, lectures, and workshops for those looking to improve their craft and gain exposure. The IPHF and Museum’s permanent collection contains over 10,000 images from more than 500 artists.