Martha Robertson (1860-1920)
Martha Randle Burgoyne Robertson was the first female photographer active in Pretoria, before 1896, assisting her husband CF Robertson, a Silver Medallist in the 1878 Paris Exhibition.
Else (1874 – 1934) and Anna (1880 – 1950) Ginsberg
The sisters opened the only female-run photographic studio in South Africa before 1900 in King William’s Town.
The German Jewish sisters followed their entrepreneurial uncle, Franz, to South Africa in the 1880’s, setting up the Ginsberg’s Art Studio in Downing Street around 1900. Their work includes artistic child portraits against studio backdrops. Their uncle was the mayor between 1903 and 1907and became a Senator in the newly formed Cape Province.
Sara Buyskes operated as a photographer from 1907 and ran a successful studio in Johannesburg from 1931- 1965.
It was common practice at the time for the widow to continue running her late husband’s studio, as was the case with Mrs Benjamin Kisch in Durban in the late 1880s and 90s and Maria Walters in Cape Town in the 1850s and 60s. Maria Walters was possibly the first female photographer in S.A. taking Daguerrean format photos between 1857 and 1860. B. Kisch was known for high-quality, sometimes hand-coloured portraiture.
By Paula Vellet