By Fiona Rogers and Max Houghton
240 pages, hardcover, $45.00
Published by Thames & Hudson
While Firecrackers: Female Photographers Now is handsome enough to be a coffee table book, good luck flipping through its pages lightly. The images will sweep you in.
You’ll see the sparks of the 2011 uprising in Cairo, Egypt, as photographed by Laura El-Tantawy. The eyes of Behnaz Babazadeh gazing at you from inside a burka constructed out of Twizzlers. Portraits of the LGBTQ community in South Africa, taken by visual activist Zanele Muholi, and the mothers of ISIS fighters, documented by Poulomi Basu. By the time you get to Chen Zhe’s images of self-harm, you are jolted not so much by her photo of a bloody bandage, but rather by the blank white page that signals the end of the fascinating journey through Firecrackers.
In total, 33 photographers are featured in Firecrackers—all are fresh voices in the documentary photography community, and all are women. To flesh out the eclectic compilation of images, the book’s curators and editors, Fiona Rogers and Max Houghton, provide short profiles of each photographer. These economical servings will whet your appetite for more.
Before there was Firecrackers the book, there was Firecracker (fire-cracker.org). Established by Rogers in 2011, the online network promotes female photographers revitalizing the industry today. As Rogers writes in the book’s introduction, “I’d like Firecracker to be a means of celebration. A celebration of photography, a celebration of game changers, a celebration of women and, above all, a celebration of great work now.” —Esther Oh