Bad Girls Throughout History: 100 Remarkable Women Who Changed the World - Ann Shen (2016)
Anna Atkins (1799-1871) was a British botanist and photographer who self-published the first book of photography, Photographs of British Algae: Cyanotype Impressions, in 1844. Atkins was raised by a father who was prominent in the scientific community, connecting her early on with photography inventor William Henry Fox Talbot and cyanotype inventor Sir John Herschel. Benefiting from a more extensive education than that of most women in her era, Atkins applied the skills she learned from Talbot and Herschel and decided to record all the specimens of algae found in the British Isles in a scientific publication. With that, she became the first person to publish photography in the field of scientific research, proving with her skillful compositions that photographs could be both educational and beautiful. Because of this publication, Atkins is arguably also the first female photographer; Talbot’s wife Constance, a contemporary of Atkins, is also often credited with this achievement, but no existing works of either party can conclusively award either one the title.