Eight Girls Taking Pictures

Eight Girls Taking Pictures

A Novel

Book - 2012 | 1st Scribner hardcover ed. --
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From the bestselling author of How to Make an American Quilt comes a powerful and sweeping novel inspired by the lives of famous female photographers.

Bestselling author Whitney Otto' s Eight Girls Taking Pictures i s a profoundly moving portrayal of the lives of women, imagining the thoughts and circumstances that produced eight famous female photographers of the twentieth century.

This captivating novel opens in 1917 as Cymbeline Kelley surveys the charred remains of her photography studio, destroyed in a fire started by a woman hired to help take care of the house while Cymbeline pursued her photography career. This tension-- between wanting and needing to be two places at once; between domestic duty and ambition; between public and private life; between what's seen and what's hidden from view--echoes in the stories of the other seven women in the book. Among them: Amadora Allesbury, who creates a world of color and whimsy in an attempt to recapture the joy lost to WWI; Clara Argento, who finds her voice working alongside socialist revolutionaries in Mexico; Lenny Van Pelt, a gorgeous model who feels more comfortable photographing the deserted towns of the French countryside after WWII than she does at a couture fashion shoot; and Miri Marx, who has traveled the world taking pictures, but also loves her quiet life as a wife and mother in her New York apartment. Crisscrossing the world and a century, Eight Girls Taking Pictures is an affecting meditation on the conflicts women face and the choices they make. These memorable characters seek extraordinary lives through their work, yet they also find meaning and reward in the ordinary tasks of motherhood, marriage, and domesticity. Most of all, this novel is a vivid portrait of women in love--in love with men, other women, children, their careers, beauty, and freedom.

As she did in her bestselling novel How to Make an American Quilt, Whitney Otto offers a finely woven, textured inquiry into the intersecting lives of women. Eight Girls Taking Pictures is her most ambitious book: a bold, immersive, and unforgettable narrative that shows how the art, loves, and lives of the past influence our present.
Publisher: New York ; Toronto : Scribner, 2012.
Edition: 1st Scribner hardcover ed. --
ISBN: 9781451682694
Characteristics: 342 p. : ill.


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mrsgail5756 Nov 30, 2013

The book was okay – but not one of my favorites.

Nov 06, 2013

I am crazy about this book! Such beautiful stories, just enough fact to be intriguing but finctional stories of women across continents and eras, all lazily looped together by their love of being photographers against all odds. Characters and snatches of poetry migrate between the novellas in the book, it was just such a delightful construct, I didn't want it to end! Where do I give it 5 stars?

Apr 19, 2013

The lives of eight women who pursued the art of photography during the Twentieth Century are examined?in fictional form although based on real lives. The women all must marry the expectations of domestic life with their art. And, in their musing and what they accomplish reflect much that professional women aspired to and questioned in those times.

Otto has given readers a wonderful window into the lives and times of these ground-breaking photographers. And, for those of us who came of age at some of those times, she gives us a chance to think on those ?what if? questions we had once more.

LaughingOne Dec 06, 2012

I loved reading this novel! Even though it is fiction, it is based on parts of the lives of these female photographers: Imogen Cunningham, Madam Yevonde, Tina Modotti, Lee Miller, Grete Stern, and Ruth Orkin. The book is divided into eight sections, one for each of the girls. It covers a period of time from the early 1910s to the late 1980s. As time passes, some of the women (girls) make reference to some of the others who went before them, so there are connections among them. The interweaving is well done.
Not only did this book tell the stories of these eight women becoming interested in and learning photography, it also told the history of the time and place of each woman. The places included Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, New York City, Italy, Mexico City, London, Spain, France, Paris, Germany, Berlin, Argentina, and others.

Sep 10, 2012

What does this "summary" have to do with the novel, "Eight Girls Taking Pictures"?!!! Please take it down and give it its proper story summary!

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