Of all the professions involved in making a movie, the cameraman’s has been the most elusive to women.
film photographer, Brazil
According to Guiness Film Facts & Feats she was the 1st woman cinematographer in the world. Except for one film nothing more seems to be known about her.
Uma transformista original – directed by Paolo Benedetti
actor, producer, film photographer, US
According to the same source she was the 1st US woman cinematographer, but don’t look for her in that capacity on the IMDb.
There are no dates for the films by Cianelli and Davison and since they all were made in 1915 either of them could be the 1st in world.
For films acted in see IMDb
The Honeymooners – photographer
Spring Onions – photographer
Wives of men – Grace Davison Productions
news reel photographer, US
According to Guiness she was the only one.
The Dope Sheet
The Dope Sheet has a special category on the Newsreel era, with several links to excerpts.
Universal Animated Weekly
This is were it gets complicated. Believe it or not there were no directors at the beginning of the movies. Usually it was the cameraman who called the shots. So it is more than likely that Alice Guy and other pioneer women handled the camera themselves.
The three women mentioned by Guiness could well be the first camerawomen after the introduction of the director.
But, there is more. In the programme notes to the 2002 Pordenone film festival David Robinson writes:
The wife of the director G A Smith, LAURA EUGENIA BAYLEY, was one of four talented sisters – the others were Eva, Blance and Florence – who were active in the theatrical life of Brighton. All the sisters seem to have worked in Smith’s films, and Laura certainly also directed some pictures and is said to have been involved in making cameras.
It looks like Mrs Cecil Hepworth also might have helped her husband with the film making. Who knows how many wives to pioneering film makers are waiting to come out from the shadows of their men.