Study of women who work both ends of the lens

Book: Women by Women

Book: Women by Women

Edited by: Robin Comley, George Hallet and Neo Ntsoma

Publisher: Wits University press

Reviewer: Ruth Motau

This book is about South African women: women photographed and women photographers.

In her introduction, Penny Siopis says of photography: "Photographs freeze a moment in time and compress it into a picture. We can keep the image as an object or store it in our imagination to be retrieved whenever desired."

The self-portrait of Nontsikelelo Veleko on the cover illustrates the diversity of the works shown, which cover religion, fashion and sport, among others, and include press photographs and social documentaries.

It's hard to review a book where one is a contributor, but seeing outstanding works by the famous and the not- so-famous women photographers featured make it easier.

From well-known names to emerging photographers winning prizes to showcasing their work in different ways, the book has a selection of crafted work dating back from the early days of photography.

The pictures by Ellen Elmendorp of virginity testing in KwaZulu-Natal are among my favourites. She captures the activities of what happens before and during the testing, and one feels assured that the women who do the testing know what they are doing.

The picture of girls walking in long grass after a cleansing ritual at the river stuck in my mind. A photograph does not have to be in focus to be a picture, individual artists interpret the way they see things.

Jacqui Sinclaire's untitled portraits are an outstanding depiction of how different pictures can be taken and viewed.