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The Woman in the Photograph

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  252 ratings  ·  76 reviews
1968. Veronica Moon, a teenage ingénue from an estate in Essex is teaching herself the art of photography. Her passion and skill build, though of course it can only ever be a hobby. And then she visits the picket line at Dagenham Ford Factory.

At the front line of the fight for equal pay for women workers she meets Leonie - a privileged, angry activist, ahead of her time a
Paperback, 400 pages
Published July 11th 2019 by Zaffre
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Rachel Hall
Jul 10, 2019 rated it liked it
An enlightening testament to the achievements of the feminist movement & the complex friendship of two women defined by it.

3.5 stars

Enlightening and engaging in equal measure, Stephanie Butland’s testament to feminism is an accessible guide to the achievements of the Women’s Liberation movement and is underpinned by the friendship of strident second-wave vocal feminist and writer, Leonie Barratt, and the pioneering photographer who chronicled the campaign, Veronica “Vee” Moon. But as Veronica st
Jul 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is a wonderfully written book. When I first picked it up, I thought it wasn't going to be for me but just a chapter in and I was hooked.
I love the way it's written in short and long chapters and the little information about photography that is given at the start of each.
The plot is largely about feminism and is very relative to what's happening in the world today. It's hard to believe that all the fighting for votes and equality for women that was started way back in time is still going on
Jul 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kindle
There have been many books with a focus on first wave feminism, and it was really refreshing to find a book that instead explored its background during a period I lived through, from the 1960s onward. Like most women of my age, I can remember the strike at Dagenham, the protest at the Miss World ceremony, the women’s peace camps at Greenham Common – but I was perhaps too young to fully understand the issues. It was a wonderful experience to be more than a distant observer: this book allowed me t ...more
Jun 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The Woman in the Photograph brings to light the history of feminism from the 1960s onward in a book which I found completely compelling.

Veronica Moon - Vee - is a press photographer at a time when it was a very male dominated profession. Unlike her male colleagues though, she gets sent on mundane assignments such as photographing local Church sales. This all changes when, on one of her days off, she decides to go to Dagenham where female workers are striking for equal pay. This is her first exp
Oct 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Female friendship and the fight for equality in, The Woman In The Photograph, Steph Butland’s latest fictional offering.

I loved how the book was split in to various sections, each one starting with a synopsis of one of Veronica Moon’s exhibition photographs. The little snippets as to what was going on in the year the photograph was taken were fascinating. Especially when you could contrast this with what life was like [for women] in the following chapters. So Apollo 8 orbited the moon, allowing
Veronica Moon meets Leonie Bartlett while photographing the womens strike at Dagenham. They quickly become friends and Veronica is drawn into the new world of Women's Lib. Years later Leonie is gone and Veronica is approached to have her photographs in an exhibition. This however brings back lots of memories especially what happened between the two women,

This book was a little bit out my comfort zone but to my surprise I was quickly drawn into the story. I found the story a nice easy read and it
Franceska Madden
Jul 03, 2019 rated it it was ok
I do not consider myself a feminist, and this book has not changed that however this book seemed like a really interesting and thought provoking story. Following the feminist movement from the late 1960's this was somewhat educational, even in a fiction novel, due to the very much relatable and warm character of Vee. Leonie though, I'm not a fan of. She is everything I dislike about feminists, practically bullying the woman around her to believe what she believes. The mix of media style used thr ...more
Jun 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
It's a beautiful tale about sisterhood, female friendship and the Womens Lib movement.

We start the story with a photo gallery exhibition, celebrating the life and work of one of the first female and feminist photographer, Veronica Moon. And the photo that ended her career.

In flashbacks, we find out how she met Leonie and how her whole life changed when she decided to photograph the Ford factory strike in Dagenham. We also get history snippets to put into perspective what was happening in the
Linda Hepworth
Jun 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing

Veronica (Vee) Moon’s passion for photography started when she was seven years old, a bridesmaid at a cousin’s wedding. Fascinated on the day by what was happening beneath the cloth the photographer was hiding under, when she subsequently heard relatives reminiscing about the day whenever they looked through the album, she realised how important photographs are in enabling people to relive a particular moment in time. From that moment she wanted a camera of her own, finally fulfilling this dream
Jun 28, 2019 rated it liked it
3.5 Stars

This is an undeniably well written book with solid pacing and a strong narrator in Vee. Starting with the Ford Dagenham women striking for equal pay and taking us up to the modern day it charts Vee's rise as a professional photographer and as one of the Second Wave Of Feminism. Split in to 7 Sections (like the Seven Ages Of Man - I see what you did there author, I see) each is prefaced by a description of a photograph and the major events of the year it was taken and then goes on to te
Jul 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The year is 1968. Veronica (Vee) Moon is a junior photographer for a local newspaper, but she is frustrated by the type of jobs considered suitable for a woman, in this male dominated environment. There are only so many church fairs and Mothers' Union meetings you can photograph before you go mad. Vee yearns to be part of a bigger story.

Vee does not know a lot about feminism, but she knows she wants more than to be the little wife of her fiance, Barry: tied to domestic servitude and motherhood,
Jun 28, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"A photograph was worth nothing if you couldn't find the emotions that went with it"

This is a story of feminism, determination, and challenging assumptions

The story follows Vee, a now-reclusive, once well-known photographer. The narrative alternates between Vee in the 1960s, 70s and 80s exploring her passion for photography and the new-found concept of women's liberation, and present day Vee and Erica. Erica wishes to exhibit some of Vee's most well known works, while Vee is reluctant to step b
May 26, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have mixed feelings about this. I really didn't like the structure where every chapter opens with how a particular set of photographs were taken and with which camera, followed by a chronological list of significant events for that year. It felt very much like info dump and it grated. Erica has set up an exhibition for the work of Veronica Moon, a feminist photographer who was well known throughout the 70s and 80s before she hung up her camera. Veronica's mentor in the late 1960s was Leonie, a ...more
Aug 30, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Essentially, The Woman in the Photograph is a novel about feminism, friendship and photography.

At the heart of the story of is Veronica (Vee) Moon, an Essex born photographer.  We first meet her when she is young and working at a local Colchester newspaper. Her curiosity is roused with news of the female machinists' strike at the Dagenham Ford factory in 1968. On her day off, she goes along to take some photographs. While snapping away almost apologetically at the picket line, she meets Leoine,
Jane Hall
Jul 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The Woman in the Photograph is author Stephanie Butland’s fifth novel. In the author notes at the end of the book she states she “is so damned proud of it”. She is right to feel this way because, as well as having a compelling storyline, it really captures the heart of campaigning (not just the feminist movement) and it brought back many memories for me of my own time on demonstrations.
The book opens in 1968 with Veronica (Vee) Moon who is a junior photographer on a local paper. Although Vee cl
Jul 23, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I initially thought I wasn’t going to enjoy this book anywhere near as much as I did. From the opening chapters, I thought that it was going to be very heavily and aggressively second-wave feminism based and that all the book was going to discuss was the failings of third-wave feminism and how not enough has been achieved.

But, a little like we begun to see some vulnerability and humanity in Leonie, as the book went on, I felt my opinions developing into... different ones.

I felt we could the aut
what ila reads
Jan 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2020
As always a better and longer review is coming on my blog next week, check it out at:

TW: cancer, death of a loved one, mentions of abortion and domestic abuse.

I’m not one to re-read books, but I can tell you this book is of the kind I’ll want to re-read in years to come. The kind of book that I know will stay with me for a long time. The perfect book to start this new reading year and decade with. This book was so perfect that it’s forever taken the place of my favour
Nicola Smith
Aug 30, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Woman in the Photograph was one of those books I kept seeing everywhere and which I desperately wanted to read. I just loved the sound of the story.

There are two women at the heart of it: Veronica Moon and Leonie Barratt. Veronica is a woman fairly typical of the time (1968). She's engaged, expected to marry and have children and settle down, always deferring to the man in her life, be it her father or her husband. However, she's also got a fairly radical job for a woman, she's a photographe
Aug 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
The book opens in 2018, with an exhibition about to start of the work of photo journalist Veronica (Vee) Moon. It appears that she is unwell and has been away from the photography scene for some time. There is a photograph of her old friend Leonie that seemingly ended her career! At this stage in the book we have no idea as to what this photo shows.

As the book moves along from the 1960’s to 2018, we learn of Vee’s life and career from her time with her wonderfully supportive father in her home t
Aug 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book blew me away. It is intelligent, thought-provoking, emotional (to the point I sobbed in front of my in-laws) and got under my skin.

It is a retrospective look on the second wave of feminism through the eyes of Veronica Moon, a photographer as she becomes involved in an exhibition of her work over the previous fifty years. Set in 2018, the interaction between her and the exhibition’s organiser, Erica drew me in and highlights the differences in attitude between generations and how femini
The Literary Shed
Jul 06, 2019 rated it really liked it

There’s a moment in Stephanie Butland’s The Woman in the Photograph, when protagonist Veronica Moon is remembering Leonie Barratt, a woman at the forefront of the women’s movement and the friend who changed her life.

She says, ‘We let her down because we didn’t see that she was right. If we had listened to her more closely, we might not be where are now. … in a world of Me Too and women’s reproductive rights being rolled back … We might have closed the gender pay gap by now. We might have men who
Jul 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
I thought the opening to this book was as engrossing as anything I've read in a while, with an intriguing set up, historical notes and a heroine off to do her own thing in the face of her father's and fiance's disapproval. Veronica Moon is a photographer, one who rose to fame in the heady days of feminist Seventies Britain but has now been forgotten and lives a reclusive life alone. A retrospective exhibition, the work of a tired mum and the relative of Veronica's great friend and love Leonie, i ...more
Jul 15, 2019 rated it liked it
I’m torn, so I’ll say 3.5. This is undoubtedly an important read. Following the growth of feminism from the 1960s to the present day shows how the role of women has changed, but also how much has stayed the same. The points of ‘what happened in this year’ throughout the history of the story show that we are still in an age of pay gaps and where #metoo movements are needed. Leonie would be frustrated.

But Leonie herself is also frustrating. Her character is selfish, is is for herself rather than
Gail Owen
Jan 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
These days I don’t often keep hold of books, I let them out into the wilderness, I donate them to the library, but this is one that will be staying with me and I am sure I will re-read in times to come. This is the book I wish I had been able to write, it’s astonishingly good and up there with some of the best books I have ever read.

It’s really difficult to write a review that does this book justice, it has so many layers and themes. The book talks of friendship, love - father-daughter love, mo
Sophie Jo
Jul 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
If you’re looking for a novel that will shake up your perspective on the world, this is one for you. Transporting us to the women’s movement of the 70s, The Woman in the Photograph, by Stephanie Butland is a feminist book about women’s fight for equality and exacting change. We see much of the novel through the lens of budding young photographer Veronica Moon, and the novel is also very much a celebration and exploration of this art form: of its technical requirements, its capabilities as well a ...more
Tammy Tudor
Jul 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
True Feminism done beautifully!
This book is one that makes you really think and reflect and one unique story that is sure to stay with anyone a while after!

What really stands out for me is the characters, the main ones have such depth to them alone but together the friendship that is portrayed throughout it believable, strong and real. It addresses real addresses of everyday life but also through time; it made me think of the issues that women have faced in the past which makes me think of the
Dec 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a thoroughly absorbing story set both in current day, and at the start of the women's liberation movement, when women still had to fight hard to prove they had the ability to do "men's" jobs or that they were worth the same rates of pay for doing the same work as men. It's a feminist book, a women's book, that should be read by men too, to remind them how hard we've had to fight for equality (which we still don't have totally!)

The coming together of, and subsequent lifelong relationship
Charlotte Booth
Jan 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This was a really thought-provoking book which has changed my outlook on life. I know this sounds dramatic but it's true.

This novel follows the story of Vee Moon, a photographer and Leonie Barratt both militant feminists in the 1970s/1980s. It flips between the modern world where Erica is putting on an exhibition of Vee's photographs and the past during various feminist marches and events including the Dagenham Ford factory and Miss World..

I have always thought of myself as a feminist - wantin
Holly ✨
Jul 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book is so important. The reader follows two timelines, one from the sixties to the eighties, following second wave feminism and the actions of Veronica Moon - Vee - a photographer and her friendship with radical feminist Leonie. As well as the modern timeline in 2018 where Erica, Leonie's niece, is putting together an exhibition of Vee's work and she grudgingly allows it. We are aware of a photograph that ended Vee's career and a dark shadow cast over the nature of Leonie's death.
The mess
Sarah Youthed
Jul 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Vee is a junior photographer, living a quiet life with her dad and engaged to her fiance but she is unsatisfied with her life, she's fed up with her male collages refusing to take her seriously, she keeps putting off planning the wedding. Then she meets Leonie, a brazen feminist and everything changes. This book flips from the narrative from the 1980’s when they both meet and their journey together fighting the patriarchy and the present day of old vee reflecting on her past without Leonie, whic ...more
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Stephanie Butland is a writer, who is thriving after breast cancer. (She used to say she was a survivor, but that was a bit lacking in joie de vivre.)
Although she’d never have chosen it, her dance with cancer has changed her life in many positive ways. Now she is happier, healthier, and more careful with her precious life and the precious people and things in it.

Her writing career began with her d

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