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22 Most Well-known Feminine Photographers (Previous & Current)


Historical past has given us a wealth of extremely proficient feminine photographers who proceed to encourage new generations with their visionary, boundary-pushing work.

What’s extra, they span all genres, from photojournalism to road pictures and every little thing in between.

On this article, we’ll have a look at among the most well-known feminine photographers from all through the years, in addition to introduce some wonderful modern ones as effectively.

We’ve checked out well-known photographers earlier than, however now it’s time to focus solely on the women.

So, in the event you’re able to be impressed, let’s soar in!

Well-known Feminine Photographers in Historical past to Know About

1. Annie Leibovitz (1949-)

John Lennon and Yoko Ono by Annie Leibovitz

Portrait by Annie Leibovitz at LifeAsIPictured licensed below CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

For those who’ve ever puzzled, “Who’s probably the most well-known feminine photographer?”, Annie Leibovitz is prone to be the reply.

Over an illustrious profession spanning greater than 5 many years, Leibovitz has photographed everybody from Leonardo DiCaprio to Queen Elizabeth II.

Even in the event you don’t know her by identify, you’ve undoubtedly seen her work. Suppose Demi Moore, very pregnant and really nude, in her then-controversial, now iconic cowl for Self-importance Truthful.

Or that unforgettable picture of a unadorned John Lennon wrapped round Yoko Ono, taken on the very day he was shot down and killed.

And that’s simply to call a couple of.

Moreover her fascinating movie star portraits, Leibovitz has photographed numerous vogue editorials for magazines like Vogue. In these, Leibovitz turns supermodels into fantasy figures, usually borrowing from fairytales, historic tales and traditional work to convey her photographic imaginative and prescient to life.

Leibovitz was born in 1949 in Connecticut, USA, and acquired her massive begin in 1970 when she landed a job as a portrait photographer for Rolling Stone journal.

2. Vivian Maier (1926-2009)

Vivian Maier’s unbelievable road pictures offers us an in depth glimpse into the life that was buzzing round her. Most famously, she captured road scenes in Chicago and New York through the Fifties and ’60s.

One of many distinctive issues about Maier’s unbelievable story is that her 1000’s of photographs went unpublished and unknown throughout her lifetime.

Pictures was a ardour for Maier, who labored for round 40 years as a nanny whereas taking pictures footage as a aspect venture.

It was solely in 2009, simply after her demise, that digitized pictures shared on Flickr went viral and Maier grew to become a certifiable road pictures sensation.

3. Imogen Cunningham (1883-1976)

Dream by Imogen Cunningham

Dream by Imogen Cunningham (public area)

This American feminine photographer is finest recognized for 3 issues: her detailed and sharply-focused botanical pictures, her intimate nudes, and her industrial landscapes.

Cunningham additionally took many well-known portraits of celebrities and artists, particularly through the Nineteen Thirties when she labored for Self-importance Truthful. Her portraiture is prized for its intimacy and depth.

I flip folks into human beings by not making them into gods. — Imogen Cunningham

Cunningham was an influential member of the f/64 pictures group, alongside the likes of Ansel Adams – a gaggle recognized for its consideration to element and sharp specializing in easy topics.

She continued taking pictures till shortly earlier than her demise at age 93, forsaking a big and putting physique of labor that continues to be extensively appreciated.

4. Nan Goldin (1953-)

Nan Goldin is among the most well-known feminine photographers to deal with tough themes just like the HIV disaster and the opioid epidemic.

She’s additionally recognized for exploring, in a uncooked and intimate approach, sexual moments and LGBT our bodies. These themes are encapsulated by her most essential physique of labor, The Ballad of Sexual Dependency, shot between 1979 and 1986.

As she as soon as mentioned, “I knew from a really early age that what I noticed on TV had nothing to do with actual life. So I wished to make a report of actual life. That included having a digicam with me always.”

5. Dorothea Lange (1895-1965)

Dorothea Lange, Migrant Mom, Public area by way of Wikimedia Commons

Dorothea Lange was an American documentary photographer and photojournalist.

Through the Nice Despair, she labored for the Farm Safety Administration (FSA) capturing the trials and hardships of working-class folks as they went about every day life.

What makes her such an icon amongst girls photographers is that her photographs are so etched with emotion. In a single body, Lange may inform a heart-rending story concerning the lifetime of her topics.

Her most well-known work, Migrant Mom, which reveals a downtrodden mom and her two younger kids, is an ideal instance of this.

6. Diane Arbus (1923-1971)

Diane Arbus isn’t simply an essential feminine photographer – she’s one of the essential Put up-Fashionable American photographers full cease.

Arbus’ photographs are credited with serving to to normalize these on the fringes of society. She usually centered on marginalized topics like circus performers, transgender folks, dwarfs, and the mentally sick.

{A photograph} is a secret a couple of secret. The extra it tells you the much less you already know. – Diane Arbus

This proficient feminine photographer sadly took her personal life on the age of 48, however not earlier than leaving an indelible mark on the pictures world.

7. Margaret Bourke-White (1904-1971)

American Way of Life by Margaret Bourke-White

American Approach of Life by Margaret Bourke-White by way of Wikimedia Commons

On this planet of documentary pictures, Margaret Bourke-White is actually a feminine photographer that stands out.

She was the primary girl photographer to work for LIFE Journal, and the primary recognized feminine warfare correspondent allowed to work in fight zones throughout World Battle II.

In 1946, LIFE Journal commissioned her to cowl the liberation of the Hindus, throughout which period she shot her well-known picture of Gandhi on the spinning wheel.

Pictures is a really refined factor. You could let the digicam take you by the hand, because it have been, and lead you into your topic. — Margaret Bourke-White

Margaret Bourke-White will lengthy be remembered as a pioneering American photographer and the primary photojournalist to open doorways for girls photographers to enter the sphere.

8. Gerda Taro (1910-1937)

Gerda Taro via Wikimedia Commons

Gerda Taro by way of Wikimedia Commons

Gerda Taro additionally sits among the many world’s well-known feminine photographers for her contribution to photojournalism.

This courageous feminine photographer has an unlucky but extremely dignified declare to fame: she’s often called the primary girl photojournalist to have died whereas protecting the frontline in a warfare.

Taro discovered her craft from her lover {and professional} associate, famend photographer Robert Capa.

Although Taro’s profession was sadly reduce brief, her black and white pictures depicting the tough, fleeting moments of warfare proceed to encourage new generations of ladies photographers right this moment.

9. Lee Miller (1907-1977)

American photographer Lee Miller was recognized for being a vogue mannequin and the lover of artist Man Ray.

Nonetheless, it was her documentary photographs of a war-ravaged Europe after World Battle II that earned her a robust repute and a spot among the many world’s well-known feminine photographers.

Miller’s pictures of the Dachau and Buchenwald focus camps fashioned among the first photographic proof of the horrors of the holocaust.

She’s additionally recognized for her intimate inventive relationship with Pablo Picasso: she photographed him greater than 1,000 instances and he, in flip, painted her portrait six instances.

10. Sally Mann (1951-)

Sally Mann can simply be counted among the many most well-known feminine photographers who’re nonetheless alive right this moment.

Mann is thought for centering on her circle of relatives as major topics. Within the Nineties, she launched a collection of photographs that includes her personal younger kids in intimate, usually weak poses.

The collection grew to become extremely controversial, but their evocative magnificence and distinctive perspective on childhood are simple.

I feel fact is a layered phenomenon. There are a lot of truths that accumulate and construct up. I’m attempting to peel again and discover these wealthy layers of fact. All truths are tough to achieve. — Sally Mann

Greatest recognized for her large-format black and white portrait pictures, Mann has additionally produced many panorama pictures works.

11. Corinne Day (1962-2010)

When Corrine Day photographed a totally unknown freckle-faced teen from Croydon, England, nobody may have anticipated simply how iconic the photographs would turn into.

The mannequin was Kate Moss, and it was Day’s portraits of her that will pioneer a brand new type of magnificence and shift the style world’s focus away from the shiny and glamorous to one thing extra gritty and actual.

It was additionally the second that cemented Day’s future as one of the revered and well-known feminine photographers.

Day later moved on from vogue and turned her hand to documentary pictures. A major instance is her guide “Diary”, which options candid, intimate portraiture of her mates that present the fact of drug-taking.

Corrine Day sadly died at age 48 from a mind tumour.

12. Martine Franck (1938-2012)

Belgian-born Martine Franck was a feminine photographer who labored largely as a portrait and documentary photographer. She created putting and emotive compositions that strongly centered on form and type.

All through her profession, Franck labored for main publications like LIFE, Vogue and Fortune.

The second spouse of Henri Cartier-Bresson, Franck was a member of Magnum Photographs for over 32 years and one of many few feminine photographers to be represented by the company on the time.

Franck preferenced a 35-millimetre Leica digicam with black and white movie for her elegant and memorable pictures.

13. Gisèle Freund (1908-2000)

Gisele Freund self portrait

Gisele Freund self portrait by way of Wikimedia Commons

Born in Berlin in 1908, Gisèle Freund would go on to turn into one of the outstanding feminine photographers in Europe.

All through her profession, she launched into round 80 photographic assignments around the globe – largely for LIFE and Time journal – and earned her residing as a extremely profitable photojournalist.

She was the one feminine founding member of the Magnum picture company.

Regardless of her photojournalistic prowess, it was Freund’s portrait pictures that will cement her as one of the well-known feminine photographers on this planet.

Freund captured portraits of the giants of the artwork and literary world, together with James Joyce, Vladimir Nabokov, Evita Perón, Frida Kahlo and Aldous Huxley.

She additionally shot the primary color portraits of Simone de Beauvoir, Virginia Woolf, André Breton and others.

Freund’s portraits are deeply inspiring as a result of they usually defy conference, specializing in revealing the essence of the topic. She additionally took some distinctive self-portraits.

Dwelling for nearly a century, Freund created a formidable physique of labor and witnessed the event of pictures as an artwork.

14. Tina Mondotti (1896-1942)

Woman from Tehuantepec (Mexico), by Tina Modotti

Girl from Tehuantepec (Mexico), by Tina Modotti by way of Wikimedia Commons

Italian photographer Tina Mondotti wore many hats: she was additionally a mannequin, actress and revolutionary political activist.

After relocating to Mexico in 1922, she grew to become deeply immersed in Mexican tradition and politics, and the evolution of her political concepts made a robust impression on her pictures.

A few of Mondotti’s recurring topics have been folks of the working class, scenes depicting indigenous tradition, folks artwork and landscapes.

She additionally took pictures of well-known intellectuals and artists, most notably Frida Kahlo.

Modotti was exiled from Mexico in 1930 because of her prominence within the communist motion and her work in pictures quickly after ceased.

All through her considerably brief however vibrant life, Mondotti left a robust imprint as an influential feminine photographer.

15. Eve Arnold (1912-2012)

Marilyn Monroe by Eve Arnold

“Eve Arnold fotografía a Marilyn Monroe” by Antonio Marín Segovia is licensed with CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

American photographer Eve Arnold is thought for capturing photographs of among the most well-known and glamorous topics on this planet – Marlene Dietrich and Marilyn Monroe amongst them.

Nonetheless, she didn’t solely {photograph} portraits of the wealthy and well-known, regardless of the success this introduced her. She additionally took unbelievable pictures of the poor, the outdated, the commonplace, the unglamorous… and did so in a approach that not many photographers have been in a position to replicate.

“It’s the toughest factor on this planet to take the mundane and attempt to present how particular it’s.” — Eve Arnold

Arnold is thought for changing into the first girl to hitch the Magnum Photograph Company, and for being one of many feminine photographers of her time to essentially discover concepts and points about girls in her work.

She died in 2012 at age 99.

Well-known Modern Feminine Photographers to Comply with

1. Ellen von Unwerth 

German-born Ellen von Unwerth is arguably probably the most well-known feminine photographer within the discipline of vogue (say that 5 instances quick!).

As an editorial photographer, she’s produced numerous shoots for magazines like Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar and Interview.

Von Unwerth’s model is distinct: her glamorous, colourful photographs spotlight the feminine type in playful and erotic methods.

I’ve at all times beloved to painting girls who’re robust, who’re playful, who’re confident, and who actually personal their sexuality. — Ellen von Unwerth

Whereas not all feminine photographers would strategy capturing photographs of ladies in an overtly sexualised approach, von Unwerth’s perspective as a lady shines by way of and her fashions usually say they really feel empowered relatively than exploited.

Ellen von Unwerth’s profession took off after she took pictures of supermodel Claudia Schiffer in 1989.

Since then she’s photographed numerous celebrities and fashions, lots of them notable girls: Britney Spears, Rihanna, Kate Moss, Madonna, Drew Barrymore and Gisele Bundchen amongst them.

2. Ming Smith

Born in Detroit in 1947, Ming Smith rose to prominence within the Nineteen Seventies for being a part of the influential Kamoinge collective of black photographers.

All through her profession, she’s photographed a lot of essential black cultural figures, together with girls like Nina Simone, Grace Jones and Tina Turner.

In 1978, she grew to become the first-ever feminine African American photographer to have her work acquired by the Museum of Fashionable Artwork in New York Metropolis.

Smith’s model, largely black and white, is candid, unassuming and undeniably lovely.

She works with varied strategies – each in-camera strategies like sluggish shutter speeds and deliberate performs with focus, and darkroom strategies like double publicity. She’s additionally recognized for mixing mediums, including to her photographs with hand-tinting, portray and collage.

Nonetheless energetic and with new books and exhibitions on the horizon, Ming Smith is certainly one feminine photographer to take a look at.

3. Lynsey Addario

conflict photography lynsey addario

U.S. troops with the 173rd Airborne Battle Firm, carrying the physique of Workers Sgt. Larry Rougle (often called “Wildcat”) after he was killed in an ambush throughout Operation Rock Avalanche within the Korengal Valley, October 2007 | © Lynsey Addario

This Pulitzer prize-winning photojournalist is a feminine power to be reckoned with, all through her profession taking up the courageous process of protecting conflicts from the entrance line.

Typically commissioned to shoot in locations which are notably dangerous for a lady, Addario hasn’t put down her digicam regardless of being kidnapped twice.

Even whereas taking up one of many pictures world’s most harmful jobs, Addario is thought for her capability to seek out magnificence within the harshest of locations.

Her photographs of warfare usually juxtapose a harrowing subject material with a thought of and aesthetically-pleasing model of composition. Addario says that is her approach of getting folks to interact with the pictures relatively than turning away from tough topics.

If you wish to be impressed by feminine photographers working within the discipline of photojournalism, Lynsey Addario is certainly one to observe.

4. Hoda Afshar

Behrouz Boochani by Hoda Afshar

Behrouz Boochani by Hoda Afshar by way of Wikimedia Commons

Iranian-born Hoda Afshar is a widely known feminine photographer now understanding of Melbourne, Australia.

In 2006, the distinguished World Press Photograph named her as one of many high ten younger photographers in Iran.

She went on to win the 2015 Nationwide Portrait Prize and the 2018 Bowness Pictures Prize. In 2021, her picture collection on Australian whistleblowers gained the Individuals’s Alternative Award on the Ramsay Artwork Awards.

Her pictures have been proven in quite a few exhibitions and are held in varied everlasting collections throughout Australia.

Works created by Afshar usually blur the road between what’s actual and conceptual – a way she calls “staged documentary”, and her work is thought for difficult assumptions, exploring tough matters, and bringing exhausting truths to gentle in a artistic and infrequently lovely approach.

5. Cindy Sherman

cindy sherman moma

“Cindy Sherman at MOMA” by solsken by way of Inventive Commons, licensed below CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Cindy Sherman is taken into account one of the famend and essential feminine photographers working right this moment.

She’s recognized for utilizing her artwork as a type of social criticism and for difficult notions of identification by way of her many self-portraits.

In her self-portraits, Sherman usually makes use of apparent prosthetics and visual make-up to remodel herself into quite a lot of totally different characters. In doing this, she prompts the viewer to query our technique of constructing an identification.

I’m attempting to make different folks acknowledge one thing of themselves relatively than me. — Cindy Sherman

Because the Museum of Fashionable Artwork places it, “Sherman subverts the visible shorthand we use to categorise the world round us, drawing consideration to the artificiality and ambiguity of those stereotypes.”

Whereas a few of Sherman’s invented characters and scenes are glamorous and delightful, she’s additionally well-known for exploring, by way of her portraits, topics which are uncomfortable and grotesque.

Her extremely distinctive model, thought-provoking photographs, and talent to carry out each behind and in entrance of the digicam, make Cindy Sherman a real game-changer of the pictures world.

6. Bella Kotak

One have a look at Bella Kotak’s work and also you’ll instantly see why she’s social media well-known. Her photographs are wealthy, fantastical, dream-inducing; each a murals in its personal proper.

Kotak is thought for creating lush fantasy worlds inside her works, the place fashions are reworked into robust feminine characters – goddesses, witches, queens and warrior girls – utilizing a mixture of impeccable styling and inventive post-production.

She began her profession journey in arts and structure earlier than falling into positive artwork pictures. She now lives and works between the US and UK.

If you wish to be constantly impressed by among the most ravishing fantasy pictures round, be sure you observe her.

7. Pamela Hanson

With greater than 30 years of expertise within the vogue business, photographer Pamela Hanson is recurrently featured in magazines like Vogue, Elle, GQ and Harper’s Bazaar.

She’s additionally photographed many promoting campaigns for main vogue and sweetness manufacturers.

A few of her most well-known photographs are of well-known girls like Naomi Campbell and Carla Bruni, whom she has masterfully captured in spontaneous and candid moments.

There are such a lot of very proficient feminine photographers right this moment with so many factors of view. I feel it’s great. The extra, the higher. — Pamela Hanson

Hanson has launched a number of extremely profitable pictures books, together with Women – a 200+ web page picture guide crammed with private {and professional} work – and the follow-up guide Boys.

Closing Phrases

It goes with out saying that there are various unbelievable feminine photographers – some who helped form historical past, and a few who’re creating it as we converse – who should not represented right here. There are just too many to incorporate in a single article!

Which well-known feminine photographers most encourage you? Which not-yet-famous feminine photographers do you assume are price maintaining a tally of?

Go away a remark under and assist others uncover feminine photographers they may not but learn about! We’d love your enter.



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