PHOTOGRAPH 51 2019 by Anna Ziegler

(Studied in comparison to The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood)

Various feminist movements comment that history is really HIS-story; the stories of men told at the expense of the female voice.

If Homer’s Odyssey can be thought of as the father of all stories, Atwood’s Penelopiad weaves a new archetypal womens’ tale. Atwood has been a powerful force in writing the female voice and has undoubtedly been an inspiration to Ziegler in her own efforts to tell the stories of contemporary women. Photograph 51 rewrites the story of DNA’s discovery, conventionally attributed to James Watson and Francis Crick, highlighting the role of Rosalind Franklin.

Franklin and Penelope are not the same archetypal woman but despite being thousands of years apart, there are frightening common threads of sexism that only become obvious when we continue the project of telling HER-stories.


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