While women have been gaining momentum in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), this was certainly not the case in centuries past. Women in the Victorian era were not permitted to be practicing scientists, were unable to conduct research, present their work or secure admission across scientific communities.
In the nineteenth century, botanist and artist Anna Atkins established photography as an accurate medium for scientific illustration, study and documentation. She combined art, science, natural history and technology into the realm of printing.
During her time, botanical documentation was relegated to traditional printing presses, engravings, etchings and woodcuts, which did not produce accurate reproductions and presented notable errors. Some collectors went as far as creating books full of dried botanical specimens in the form of herbaria guides, although the ephemeral botanical matter was known to be fragile and quite difficult to distribute.