A captivating and enlightening celebration of influential senior women in Britain, the 100 Leading Ladies project, by photographer Nancy Honey, currently on display at Bradford’s Cartwright Hall Art Gallery (the first venue to show the project outside London) offers an inspirational and insightful look into the lives and achievements of these prominent, ground breaking and often gender-stereotype defying women.
Nancy Honey spent two years photographing women from all walks of life, and a wide range of industries, from athletes to academics, and scientists to activists – but who all share two things in common; firstly they each are, or were formerly, leaders in their own particular field, and secondly they are all aged 55 or over.
The exhibition features some well-known, recognisable faces such as Professor Germaine Greer and Dame Harriet Walter CBE; along with others such as Baroness Haleh Afshar OBE and Professor Parveen Kumar CBE, whose faces may not be so familiar to us, but whose work has undoubtedly changed the world we live in, and blazed a trail for future generations of women.
The women were each invited to choose the setting for their portrait, selecting a place that is uniquely inspirational to them. As a viewer I felt that the diversity of the individual settings added to the photographs deeply personal and characterful feel. Some places appeared tranquil, whereas others were busy and vibrant, some intrigued me, and there were several which challenged my own perceptions of the women in the photographs. However, although they elicited a whole host of different reactions from me, I found them all to be equally engaging.
In addition to the portraits, as part of the project, the women were also interviewed by former Times journalist Harriet Garlick. Offering a more in-depth insight into the lives of each woman the interviews have been compiled alongside the portraits in the 100 Leading Ladies book, which accompanies the exhibition.
To read sample interviews, view the complete list of the 100 Leading Ladies, or for more information about the project and its aims please visit: www.100leadingladies.com
The exhibition runs at Cartwright Hall Art Gallery until Sunday 10th April 2016. Admission is free.
For details of opening hours and further information to help plan your visit go to www.bradfordmuseums.org or call 01274 431212