The Magazine Issue X: The Forgotten Photographer - Page 82

Why did you select film and photography as areas you wished to focus on in your publishing?

When I was 8, I fell in love with cinema. My mother, who was a very tolerant person, took me to the local cinema every week. My first memory was going to Bambi and weeping at his mother’s death. When I went to Routledge & Kegan Paul, I started moonlighting on a film studies degree and I suggested to the publishers that they start a film cinema list. I’ve been so fortunate because I’ve been able to publish in an area that is essential to my life. My father was involved in publishing the Bible, one of the most mass market books ever. It was he who got me my first job in publishing when I was 16 years old.

In terms of photography, as an editor, I go to America a lot and attend a lot of conferences. I’ve always taken time off to go to the museums. America has this extraordinary archive of the best of photography and I was sold on that, so I started publishing in photography. I also really love the fact that photographs and the moving image seem ephemeral but they can be pinned down in moments of criticism. My books are illustrated, but it’s mainly the power of the written word that’s been important to me. And the words do privilege new ways of thinking about these media.

You’ve made quite an impact on feminist publishing. Can you share a bit behind engaging in the field and how this, too, has influenced your career?

The other thing that’s driven me really is that when I began my career at Routledge, & Kegan Paul, the women’s movement was in full swing. I haven’t stopped since then trying to highlight women’s thinking and feminist ideals & ideas. Feminism offers a great eye on the media. There are many other approaches, but looking at the media through feminism has been very exciting, most recently with a wonderful book, Feminism and Popular Culture by Rebecca Munford and Melanie Waters.

In 1981, I started the Pandora Press imprint at Routledge & Kegan Paul. Virago had already discovered a wealth of women’s fiction writers but we thought feminist non-fiction should be represented, so we started the Pandora imprint.

It was a very exciting time and we in publishing were very much informed by what was going on around us. The new knowledge, the rethinking. The books were informed by that, but at the same time, they were giving back to the women’s movement by informing it in return and helping feminist approaches to the world to develop. Women’s writing and thinking have continued to develop, and I’ve tried to follow that development through publishing books like Annette Kuhn’s Women’s Pictures and Parker and Pollock’s Old Mistresses.