Gary Pageau of the Dead Pixels Society talks with Darcy Reed, author of the new book for children, "Extraordinary Women with Cameras: 35 Photographers Who Changed How We See the World." The book, featuring illustrations by Vanessa Perez, captures the stories of iconic female photographers, including Dorothea Lange’s haunting portraits of American history, Margaret Bourke- White’s bravery as the first female war correspondent in WWII, Florestine Perrault Collins’ influential images depicting Black life in the 1920s, and Anne Geddes’ joyful and elaborately-staged portraits of adorable babies.
Reed is a writer, editor, and actor. Her books include The College Bucket List, Disney: Ninety Years of Mickey Mouse, Wonder Woman Trivia Deck, The Photography Trivia Deck, Captain Marvel: The Tiny Book of Earth's Mightiest Hero, Extraordinary Women With Cameras, and Shakespeare: Famous Last Words.
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Produced by Gary Pageau
Edited by Olivia Pageau
Announcer: Erin Manning
Erin Manning 0:02
Welcome to the Dead Pixels Society podcast, the photo imaging industry's leading news source. Here's your host, Gary Pageau. The Dead Pixels Society podcast is brought to you by Mediaclip, Advertek Printing, and GotPhoto.
Darcy Reed 0:18
Hello again and welcome to the dead pixel society podcast. I'm your host, Gary Pageau. And today we're joined by Darcy Reed and author from Petaluma, California, who's here to tell us about her new book, "Extraordinary women with Cameras: 35 photographers who changed how we see the world." Hi, Darcy, how are you today?
Hi, I'm doing great. Thank you so much for having me.
So Darcy, this is not your first book. This is not your first rodeo. Can you tell us a little bit about some of the other books you may have written before we get into your new book?
Sure. I've worked with a few different publications. My first ever book was the college bucket list. 101 things to do before you graduate. And then after that, I was assigned with Insight Editions for while doing stuff for their Marvel and DC line. I did um, quote books for the Joker, Harley Quinn. I partnered with Disney to do a Mickey Mouse retrospective. And I have a Captain Marvel mini book coming out next month with inside edition so
kind of pop culture current kind of thing.
satirical pop culture, I did do one with Rocky nook that wasn't a book. It was a trivia deck. The photography trivia deck for you know flashcards to play games with photographer friends and stuff.
Okay, so does that like Cards Against Humanity? But for photographers?
Kind of Yes. Yeah. I would say that. Yes.
So what's that called? I'm curious what the name of that is?
The photography trivia deck.
All right. So check. us out. There were also
and you learn stuff too. So
educational and sarcastic? I like it.
Your book is 35 stars who changed how we see the world female photographers. And it's an illustrated book, it is more for a younger demographic. Let's be clear about that sounds like a deep, thick tome of biographical material. But tell us a little about the illustrations because I think they're very striking.
Oh, yeah, this wonderful photographer or illustrator, Vanessa Perez, she did these just wonderful little pictures of each woman that just really captured the spirit of the photographer. And they're just delightful. We couldn't be happier with with what she did with the, with the book. So I'm just so happy. She came on board.
And so it was Vanessa, someone you worked with previously? Or was she paired up with you when you got the assignment from rocking up to do this book?
Oh, we were paired up we've never met previously, I wrote the book first and was approved by my editor and everything. And then they sought out an illustrator and they saw her work on her website, and they thought it would just be a perfect fit for the demographic we're going through, we're going for a younger demographic. So you know, nice, cartoony illustrations we thought would be very fitting for, for our demographic.
How do you come up with, I should say, 35 photographers, how was that number determined? Like you said, well, we want about 100 page books. So that's three pages per person. How do you hide them? How was that determined?
That was determined by my editor, by what the typical sizes for book of this demographic and of this nature, each each photographer gets a for an illustrated page, and then the description. So with 35 It makes a nice size of a book for what we're going for. But we had a I had a very hard time narrowing them down, there were so many more women photographers around the world that I had no idea about, right? So we have on the back of the book, a further exploring page with several different more photographers, we just couldn't fit in the book that if you're interested, you can explore on your own. So it's pretty cool that I was able to fit them in at the end, because there was just so many there's so many amazing female photographers in history.
And was this something other than the card deck that you had done? Did you ever give a background in photography? Or is this something you've grown to take an interest in?
I don't really have a background in it. It's definitely something I kind of was asked to do the photography trivia deck. And so that was a big learning experience. For me. I knew a little bit about photography, but I got a massive education doing that trivia deck and that really spurred my interest. So I actually approached them with this book concept. Along with my editor, Kelly Reed. We kind of approached them together. It was her idea and we just because I just kind of saw a need in the market. For a book like this. I read children's books to my twin nieces all the time. they'd love reading. And I never and I would, I would always seek out women centered books and I didn't see one for women photographers, so it was kind of a lightbulb moment and I we approach Rocky Nook with this concept so and they they went for it
Gary Pageau 5:14
you've got some of the what I would say the usual suspects right in terms of historical figures who are like the leading names in in photojournalism were either female or not like Sally Mann, Margaret Bourk W hite journalistic portraiture, like Annie Liebowitz. How do you balance that with some of the other photographers who haven't who are great photographer? Maybe maybe not as well? No,
Darcy Reed 5:39
that's a really good question I had that was one of the hardest things I hardest times I had with because there's I wanted to get the big ones in there, you know, as well like and get ease and Liebowitz. You know, all that. But I really was important to me that I showed as many different ethnicities and countries as possible to make it a truly global book. And not just the big heavy hitters are to American centered, I really went out of my way to do a diverse selection in this book.
So it must have been quite the process like because this is something I imagine you're going through a big discovery process where you're like learning about these photographers, you're like, why didn't I know about this one when I was going through school? And why didn't I know about that one, and, and then your discoveries, you want to share this? And then there's other more contemporary photographers that you've got in here, who, like you said, are more global? Is there a place for another book, follow up that maybe include some of those? I would
absolutely love that. And again, we do include the further reading in the back. And we also have a QR code for you to scan to look at the actual photographs that always women? Yeah, I do think
it was kind of strange yet a book about photographers with no photographs in it. So that was just me.
That yeah, that was a licensing issue. And we decided to just make it illustrated for children. So I do but we do include the QR code, so you can look. But I would absolutely love to do a sequel because this just scratches the surface. I mean, we could totally do a part two, if they left. If they thought there was a market for it.
Who was the photographer? That branch you knew their name? Like you may have heard of them? And then you just discovered something completely surprising about,
oh, gosh, okay, I'm gonna go to the page because I, I thought I want immediately. Good, good. So I remember seeing this picture a few years ago, I believe it was in the New York Times or something. And it was about different people all over New York like nannies, valets kitchen workers dressed up as superheroes. And I thought I was like, that's weird. I just thought it was, you know, some fashion thing there being and then I researching this book, I discovered don't say pin pin zone, I believe I'm pronouncing it correctly. And she was named by Forbes as one of the 50 most creative Mexicans in the world. And she had this iconic the real story of superheroes featuring several immigrant workers in New York City dressed as superheroes. And that was what I saw. And I didn't even realize that was her work. And I was so struck by it, it stuck in my head all this time. And so finding out about her story was really interesting researching this book.
So this is something you had seen it, you didn't connect it to the person that you actually
know, I just thought that was just a newspaper being fashion or something. And then I when I was researching, I was like, I mean, you got to look up her other stuff. She has other series like the it's just so groundbreaking, and it's so striking. So I really went down a rabbit hole with her. And I was it was really fun. But this happened several times researching this, and this is has
nothing to do with your other interests in the superhero genre. It says no,
I think that's why it stuck in my head because I was doing the superhero books at the time. And I saw this photo series and I was like, Oh, that's funny. And then just, you know, finding out like her reason behind it and stuff. It was just so fascinating to me.
So what were her reasons behind that? Well, she
just wanted to show I mean, it's called everyday superheroes. And it's show these people who are maybe overlooked or like the nanny, the cooking, cooking your breakfast, you know, the laundry attendant and stuff, just their everyday superheroes that can be overlooked. And I just thought that was so powerful how she framed this pop culture thing to spotlight these people. I just thought that was so cool. That was so that was nice to learn about her.
So one of the other things I was taken by the book was how you have a variety of photographic styles in there. You've got the photojournalism style and the fashion style, the portrait style, the commercial style all kind of mixed in there. Was that intentional in the sense that you wanted to portray that variety? Or was it just that's how it turned out?
Yes. So yes, that was definitely I mean, not only I that was in the back of my mind, first and foremost was to get the most variety of like non Americans and throughout history, but I definitely wanted to show younger people reading this book. Look, there's many different ways you can have a career in photography, there's many different ways, you know, you can be a photo journalist, you can do avant garde stuff, you can photograph celebrities. So that did, I did definitely take that into account. Because I want young people to read this book and be like, wow, there's you can have a life in photography and many different ways. Right. So that was definitely on my mind.
Who was did you? Did you discover a favorite that you that you did not expect to find among this group?
Oh, yeah. So I've never heard of I had heard her name in passing. But Mary Ellen, Mark,
okay. Yeah. Okay. So I
just just delving into her her catalogue. And just seeing the juxtaposition between she took photos on the red carpet of stars, and she also took pictures of people, you know, everyone from homeless kids in Seattle to poverty in India, the protesters in the Vietnam War. And so to see her whole catalogue and the juxtaposition, it's like, wow, this is if you want to show someone what you could do with the camera, you could just show her her whole catalogue. And that would just cover it all, you know, so I was really fascinated by her life story. And,
yeah, she, she had a very specific look to her work, in the sense that even when she was photographing a celebrity or homeless kid, you knew it was her work?
Yeah, yeah, it was like she or her distinctive style. No matter what the subject was, that's definitely what also captivated me. It was just so it's just, yeah, I really had a good time going through her researching her and seeing her work. That was really fun.
So going forward, through the book, you said there's resources afterwards, but you don't have access to the actual gallery. So how does the QR code piece work?
Unknown Speaker 12:16
You know, I believe it goes to a gallery page where you can see a sampling of each artists work. And then I believe there might be a link to go to note, you know, for each artist to go to go to more, but I think it's a gallery of a sampling of each one. So you can see their style and stuff I believe. I haven't tried it out yet.
Darcy Reed 12:42
It's funny I started doing I didn't either. So that was that. So the book is out now. And what if you're, if you're a retailer, or a store owner? Do you want to carry this? How would you get this book in your store? And how would you? How would you suggest they reach people let them know, they they're caring. He has learned a lot of kids books in camera stores that I've seen. But I mean, there are a lot of how to manuals, and the coffee table books with people's art. But I think this is kind of a unique thing where it could really inspire a few people.
I would definitely put it where there are other photography books are you know, like, hey, parents, parents photographers, do you want your kids to see what they, you know, I would definitely gear it towards, you know, the people who have that, you know, that interest in them and be like, hey, you know, you're your parent and your photographer, show your kid what you could do with your life, you know, show what other people have done, you know, for inspiration. So I think that would definitely be a good idea.
And how and who's the publisher? And how do they get more information.
Unknown Speaker 13:48
So the publisher is Rocky Nook publishing, and the two, I believe it's Rockynook.com/extraordinary women with cameras if you'd like to order the book from them. And then they'll have a full back catalogue with all their past books, including my trivia deck. If you'd like to order that as
Darcy Reed 14:09
well, I can see it would be more of a companion piece. Right. So, so work. So what did people go to get more information about you and your work?
Unknown Speaker 14:18
Oh, I have an Amazon Author Page. Darcy Reed. I also have a LinkedIn page. Look me up there. I'm also on Instagram at @Darcyauthor.
Darcy Reed 14:30
Well, great. Well, thank you, Darcy, for spending some time with us today. I enjoyed talking about the book. I'd recommend folks check it out. I think it is a different kind of photography book for a different age group and a different subject matter than most typical photo books. So I'd recommend folks check it out and see if there might be a place for it in their store. Thanks again. Darcy and have a great day.
Thank you so much. This was so much fun. Thank you
Erin Manning 15:00
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