When women began working as photographers in the second half of the 19th century, the rules of the medium had not yet been codified and experimentation was the order of the day. As early as the 1870s, Julia Margaret Cameron was a pioneer of the use of soft focus in her depictions of figures from Arthurian legend. Some women opened their own studios, like Ellen Auerbach and Grete Stern, who were innovative figures in the flourishing field of advertising. Others were obliged to work anonymously or under pseudonyms. As the 20th century dawned, women embraced genres ranging from documentary realism to surrealist photomanipulation, fearlessly exploring the boundaries of photographic possibility.