Christina Broom: The UK’s First Female Press Photographer

Though she was a pioneering press photographer who documented London life between 1903 and 1939, Christina Broom’s story has not been widely told. Until now. Watch as Anna Sparham, Museum of London Curator of Photographs, speaks adoringly about Broom and her work, from Royal events, society occasions, and WWI soldiers:

Broom began her photography career photographing street views, which she intended to sell as postcards. Her work soon went in another direction. Since she lived close to Chelsea Barracks, Broom began photographing in and around the barracks and taking pictures of WWI soldiers heading to and returning from the Front. (Via PetaPixel)

In her extensive collection, it is clear that she became quite close with the soldiers, their families, and war life.

“She’s the insider; she’s part of this, she’s part of the war and this is her contribution.”

photo of wwi soldiers

World War I soldiers

Sparham describes Broom as a determined woman who was unique, intriguing, skilled, and largely under-appreciated. Rather than focusing on formal images of the soldiers, Broom’s photos are natural and human, much more to the point.

“To embrace this world of photography, which within her field was fairly unique, would have been quite a brave thing to do.”

And her bravery and determination paid off. While working so much within the barracks, Broom became well known to the King who soon trusted her and allowed her great privileges. Broom began photographing major Royal events and the Royal Family. She was the only person allowed into Westminster Abbey to photograph King Edward VII after he died and was lying in state.

picture of christina broom

Christina Broom

Christina Broom proved to be a strong woman and highly skilled photographer in a male-dominated world. She worked hard and you can definitely see that in her images, which portray compassion and a human connection with her subjects.

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