An Exhibition Series Celebrating 50 Years of Women at Lehigh

Jeanine Michna-Bales • Joyce Tenneson

Hear Me Roar—whether that phrase conjures Helen Reddy or Katie Perry—it declares the fierce power and resilience of women across many generations.  In honor of the 50th anniversary of the first class of undergraduate women at Lehigh, LUAG presents a series of exhibitions focusing on individual women photographers represented in its collection.  In particular, these exhibitions in multiple sites across campus highlight women photographers whose presence in the collection has grown over the last 10 years since the landmark exhibition and catalogue Women Photographers that coincided with the 40th anniversary year 2011.

Jeanine Michna-Bales American, b.1971. Jeanine Michna-Bales utilizes the medium of photography to explore what she describes as “fundamentally important relationships - to land, to other people, and to oneself - and how they impact contemporary society.” Her research-based practice focuses on the intersections between the past and present, bringing to light often unseen stories. Michna-Bales spent over a decade and traveled over 2,000 miles researching, retracing, and documenting the Underground Railroad for her Through Darkness to Light series, which traces a path to freedom from Louisiana to Ontario under the cover of night. Her work has been featured in exhibitions and publications throughout the United States, including in the Princeton Architectural Press, Smithsonian Magazine, and  BBC World News. [Lena Weisman ‘22, IDEAS]

Joyce Tenneson American, b.1945. Joyce Tenneson’s photographs possess distinctive sensual and mystifying qualities which make her work stand out among her peers. Her eccentric and ethereal style developed independently of inspiration from other artists, earning her a reputation as a pioneer photographer of her generation. Tenneson’s work aims to reveal aspects of her subjects that lie under the surface.  She remarks, “[my camera] holds a light up for my subjects to help them feel their own essence, and gives them the courage to collaborate in the recording of these revelations." She focuses largely on revealing the internal identity of women through capturing a transcendent aspect of each female form. Her work has been featured in countless exhibitions and publications including American Photo Magazine, whose readers voted Tenneson one of the top ten most influential women in the history of photography.  [Lena Weisman ‘22, IDEAS and Giovanna Paone ‘23, BEHAVIORAL NEUROSCIENCE]

View the entire exhibition on Artstor. 

View Part II on Artstor.

Part I

Part III

Part IV

Soaring Together: Celebrating the Women of Lehigh: From Spring 2020 to Spring 2022, Lehigh will mark the 50th year of undergraduate women with a celebration that includes events, programs, and projects planned and executed by departments, centers, and organizations across the university. These include unique events, lectures, programs, and student projects, as well as existing events and programs with related content. Learn more here.