Maria Tesch – A Woman Who Made a Difference
Today we have mobile phones to take photos on any occasion. Moreover, we can even shoot selfies while eating a pizza, driving a car [not recommended] or even while having a row with your partner. A camera has become an essential need. If this technological advancement was told to a layman living in the 1900s, he would not believe you and thought you had become crazy.
During those days, photos were taken only on special occasions. People living in the 18th and 19th centuries preserved their photos. If you have gone through the photographs of your grandparents or even great-grandparents, those photos look natural, elegant and real. These photos were preserved for ages so the next generation could see and cherish their ancestor's memories. This appears contradictory to our present scenario. These days our mobile phones are loaded with selfies and photos and we delete those as soon as it has been uploaded as a "Display Picture" or "Profile Picture" on WhatsApp and Facebook respectively.
We don’t even have to incur substantial expenses for clicking and discarding photos, and taking a photo has become a usual task. One does not require photography skills to snap picture perfect photos, thanks to the advancements in the field. The cameras found in today’s mobile phones are comprised of advanced and dynamic features such as auto click, zoom, clarity, special effects, etc. A person from the 19th century could not have even imagined so many remarkable improvements in the photography industry.
However, during the 18th and 19th centuries, people bore significant expenses for taking photos. There were few professional photographers who helped the people in getting a perfect picture. During those times, photography was not a pastime or routine task. It was considered a skill. Therefore, it was practiced by the photography experts for a prolonged period of time. The cameras used during those days were simple and did not have advanced features. We have battery-operated cameras and now, those have been replaced by digital ones. Even kids can take photos with digital cameras and discard them if they do not like them. In those days, photography equipment involved a black curtain, a heavy camera, rolls, photo development devices, etc. Taking and developing photos was tedious. A photographer had to undergo various steps to deliver a photo to the customer.
Sweden has witnessed many professional women photographers. Some of them are Marie Hoeg, Naciye Suman, Wilhelmina Lagerholm, and so on. These women photographers were highly skilled and talented. They have greatly and passionately contributed to the field of photography.
One of these skilled and professional photographers was Hedvig Maria Tesch (1850-1936). Her collection of excellent photographs are still preserved in the local museums and libraries in Sweden. Maria Tesch was born in the Eksjo, Sweden in the year 1850. She was genuinely interested in photography. She moved to Linkoping in 1873. In this town, she launched a small studio in a building on the corner of Drottninggatan and Nygatan. In a span of few years, this studio gained immense popularity. As a result, she was able to purchase the property.
Her popularity and reputation increased among the residents of the city. Even people residing near the city and the surrounding suburbs contacted her to make portraits. Some of these portraits can still be traced in the family albums of Swedish people. Her portraits appeared real and were beautiful. Maria Tesch was dedicated to her work. She spent prolonged hours in her studio and worked with many clients. Due to her extreme dedication towards her passion, she expanded her studio premises. She recruited many employees and taught them the essentials and mechanism of photography. Moreover, she opened a branch at her hometown, Eksjo.
Tesch followed a unique mechanism of snapping perfect photographs. Before moving behind the black curtain, she tried to make people smile by saying, “Look happy, think of the one who’s going to get the photograph.” She handled all the operations of her studio at Linkoping until 1917. Later, she transferred the ownership to Anna Goransson.
Maria Tesch passed away on 5 April, 1936. However, until then, she had collected enormous fortune due to her remarkable work and dedication. She donated all her fortune to the Linkoping’s Association for the Aged and various charitable associations in Eksjo.
Her beautiful photographs are still nurtured in the local libraries of the country. The Ostergotland County Museum has showcased her photographs as well as some of her photography equipment. Thus, though photography has reached its peak stages currently, one cannot ignore the contribution of the highly skilled photographers in the past. Their photographs are masterpieces for the future generations. The wisdom, authenticity and elegance of the previous photographs needs to be noted carefully by the photographers of the present generation.
Those were the days when women didn’t go out of homes for pursuing professional activities. However, photographers such as Maria Tesch were an exception. They broke the tradition of conventional women sitting at home and undertook professional activities such as photography. They were so dedicated in their passion and work that they resulted in achieving greater milestones. Women of today’s generation must consider the achievements and talent of women photographers like Maria Tesch. This does mean that they need to contribute only towards the field of photography.
Today women are participating in various sectors and fields. Hence, they must idolize remarkable women achievers such as Maria Tesch and learn dedication and passion from them. They should build and nurture the passion towards their area of expertise in the same way as Maria Tesch devoted to the field of photography. In this way, we can have more remarkable women achievers across the globe.
Ankita Patil is a freelance content writer and a novelist. She writes for blogs, articles, eBooks for clients. An innovative writer!
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