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The Woman in the Photograph

4.13  ·  Rating details ·  47 ratings  ·  35 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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4.13  · 
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 ·  47 ratings  ·  35 reviews

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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
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
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,
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 Veronic
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
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
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
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
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
Andrea Fountain
Jul 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
What can I say about this amazing book!
We meet Veronica Moon, Vee, who is a young aspiring photographer. Fed up being being treated unfairly and her boss always choosing the male photographer for the main photos in the newspaper she photographs for, she goes to the picket line at the Dagenham Ford women machinists strike to take some photographs for herself. There, she meets Leonie. Leonie is not a very likable character and is ahead of her time with regards to the feminist movement. She says ho
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
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
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
Jul 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
I was really looking forward to reading this, given the subject matter and, overall, it did not disappoint.

I enjoyed the author's writing style and the way chapters moved through time, giving key information about important years and taking on different formats.

I found the character of Leonie frustrating, given her narrow view of what feminism should look like. However, now I've finished the book, I understand that this was perhaps the intention, to show how far the movement has come. Similarl
Sarah Goldthorpe
Jul 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
I wouldn’t really consider myself a feminist, my motivation for reading this was enjoying Stephanie Butland’s previous novels however it’s fair to say this book really opened my eyes. The story shows snapshots (no pun intended) of the feminist movement from the late 1960s but is told in a very relatable way spun as it is with stories from moments of photographer Veronica (Vee) Moon’s life and her friendship with forward thinking feminist Leonie. It’s told in a mix of styles which break the book ...more
Jul 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is a wonderful, thought-provoking and moving novel, an ode to female friendships. I really liked this story about Vee, Leonie and Erica, and also about the feminist movements in the '70s and nowadays. The main characters were very interesting and likeable, especially Vee and Erica. I found that at the beginning Leonie was a bit difficult to like with all her "feminist warrior" characteristics but towards the end I had to change my mind about her.
The novel has a brilliants structure, the sto
Miss R
Jul 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely loved this. I have learnt a lot about feminism and I love the way the book covers the 60s/70s up to the present day and what types of issues women are faced with and why. The great thing is it is all done in a really readable way so you get the satisfaction of reading it as a novel and learn something without feeling like you are being preached to. The story itself is really great and kept me gripped right to the end. It was interesting to see how Vees perceptions had changed over t ...more
Sharon Donnelly
Jul 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Thoroughly enjoyable book! I couldn't put it down. Beautifully written and the characters are so relatable.

One of the things that struck me was the amount of research that must have gone in to this book to make the voices of Leonie and Vee feel so authentic and true and the factual information included about what was going on in the world relative to Vee's photographs.

Initially I assumed that this book was purely going to be about the Dagenham strike of 1968, so when it evolved into being a mu
Hazel Tyson-Potter
Jun 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
At first, I wasn't a fan of the photography jargon and the news bulletins that start off a new chapter, however as the story unfolds, they become an important part of the tale.
Written as if you were viewing the Photo Exhibition yourself, the story starts off with a girl named Veronica Moon. A budding photographer who is keen to make a difference in the world by taking raw and gritty photos. By chance, Veronica heads off to photograph a women's strike at the Ford factory in Dagenham. It is here
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
Rebecca Wright
Jul 13, 2019 rated it really liked it

This was a brilliant book.

I was first drawn to it by the cover, which had a look of historical fiction about it.

I was not disappointed.

Even the chapters were written in different time periods which I enjoyed. It is a credit to the author that this non-linear style does not take away from the cohesion of the novel

As a Historian and Master’s student who has focussed on both feminism and early photography, I found the main themes in this work to be particularly interesting. However, I would urg
Patricia Pimenta
Jul 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Veronica Moon is a renown photographer who's made part of her way into stardom focusing on women' rights. She came from a modest, traditional family, and it's not until she meets her feminist best friend that a whole new world opens up before her. This is an amazing tribute to all feminisst, especially the ones who fought so hard during the 70's and 80's. We have it so much easier thanks to them. A must read for all women.
On a side note, I don't particularly find Leonie (the role model best fri
Penny-sue Wolfe
Jul 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
You have to read this book! It will change your perspective in many ways. There 8s a very strong feminist thread throughout the storyline which will enlighten and empower the reader.
Veronica and Leonie are people you aspire to be friends with. Those with great insight tenacity and foresight.
The story flows beautifully in a place where you really wish you could have been a part of. To be part of the Dagenham movement. To be at the forefront of such a positive and important movement that changed
Jun 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is the story of Veronica (Vee) Moon and her journey through a feminist world, after she meets Leonie Barratt on the Dagenham picket line in 1968.

I didn't expect to enjoy this book as much as I did as I'm not a fan of 'stridently' feminist books. However, the author has you rooting for Vee throughout and, whilst I didn't like Leonie as a person, I admired her.

I really liked the 'mixed-media' format of the novel, with extracts from the photography exhibition and Leonie's 'Letters from a Fem
Jun 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The story of 20th and 21st-century feminism told through the life of one woman. This book follows the story of Veronic (Vee) Moon as she meets Leonie at the Dagenham picket line in the 1960s and becomes involved in her feminist ideas and social circle. The story follows their friendship over the years. We find out that a picture Veronica took of Leonie effectively ended her photographic career - why? There are all sorts of different voices, from Leonie's newspaper column, notes from an exhibitio ...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