Break a Thread
Magic used to be just for the men. For many centuries women who showed any interest in it were viewed as witches, which could lead to a quick death sentence. Men, on the other end,
could become very famous practicing sorcery, as it was one of the most appreciated forms of entertainment.
In the “Golden Age of Magic” (1880-1930) men ran the show while young, scantily clad women waited to be cut in half. It all served to give the male magician a sense of power and control on stage.But some women, mostly magician’s wives, were able to break into the male-dominated field and often received equal billing. Names like Mercedes Talma, Kittie Baldwin and Adelaide Herrmann became famous in Europe and in the U.S., as they mastered the most popular tricks and drew large crowds of enthusiasts at their shows.
Women still only account for about 5% of memberships to magic societies today. At the Magic Castle in Los Angeles, the most prestigious magic club in the city , 90% of the members are men. But women are working hard to change that.
Once a month the Women Magicians Association meets to exchange secrets and offer feedback, encouraging everyone (even beginners) to practice in front of a small audience and discuss the status of the industry.
About six months ago, I decided to reach out to some women magicians I found on Instagram to start documenting their life on stage. I wanted to work with performers and magic felt the most appropriate in a city where everything seems to be a mirage.
So far I have photographed twelve artists, some of whom have performed shows nationwide and also abroad. Some of them have other careers, some are full-time magicians and travel most of the year. Some are also actors and musicians. All of them are storytellers who are working hard to fight the stereotypes that still run deep in the world of magic.