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


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

What’s extra, they span all genres, from photojournalism to avenue images and the whole lot 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 superb up to date ones as properly.

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

So, for those who’re able to be impressed, let’s leap 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 questioned, “Who’s essentially the most well-known feminine photographer?”, Annie Leibovitz is more likely to be the reply.

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

Even for those who don’t know her by identify, you’ve undoubtedly seen her work. Assume 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 just a few.

In addition to her charming 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 basic work to deliver her photographic imaginative and prescient to life.

Leibovitz was born in 1949 in Connecticut, USA, and obtained 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 unimaginable avenue images provides us an in depth glimpse into the life that was buzzing round her. Most famously, she captured avenue scenes in Chicago and New York throughout the Nineteen Fifties and ’60s.

One of many distinctive issues about Maier’s unimaginable story is that her hundreds of pictures went unpublished and unknown throughout her lifetime.

Images was a ardour for Maier, who labored for round 40 years as a nanny whereas capturing photos as a aspect mission.

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

3. Imogen Cunningham (1883-1976)

Dream by Imogen Cunningham

Dream by Imogen Cunningham (public area)

This American feminine photographer is greatest 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 throughout 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 images group, alongside the likes of Ansel Adams – a gaggle recognized for its consideration to element and sharp specializing in easy topics.

She continued capturing till shortly earlier than her dying at age 93, abandoning a big and hanging physique of labor that continues to be broadly appreciated.

4. Nan Goldin (1953-)

Nan Goldin is without doubt one of the most well-known feminine photographers to sort out troublesome themes just like the HIV disaster and the opioid epidemic.

She’s additionally recognized for exploring, in a uncooked and intimate method, sexual moments and LGBT our bodies. These themes are encapsulated by her most necessary 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 needed to make a file of actual life. That included having a digicam with me always.”

5. Dorothea Lange (1895-1965)

Dorothea Lange, Migrant Mom, Public area through Wikimedia Commons

Dorothea Lange was an American documentary photographer and photojournalist.

In the course of 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 pictures are so etched with emotion. In a single body, Lange might inform a heart-rending story concerning the lifetime of her topics.

Her most well-known work, Migrant Mom, which exhibits 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 necessary feminine photographer – she’s one of the crucial necessary Publish-Fashionable American photographers full cease.

Arbus’ pictures 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 recognize. – Diane Arbus

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

7. Margaret Bourke-White (1904-1971)

American Way of Life by Margaret Bourke-White

American Means of Life by Margaret Bourke-White through Wikimedia Commons

On the earth of documentary images, 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.

Images is a really delicate factor. You have to let the digicam take you by the hand, because it had 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 ladies photographers to enter the sphere.

8. Gerda Taro (1910-1937)

Gerda Taro via Wikimedia Commons

Gerda Taro through 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 generally known as the primary girl photojournalist to have died whereas protecting the frontline in a warfare.

Taro realized her craft from her lover {and professional} companion, famend photographer Robert Capa.

Although Taro’s profession was sadly lower brief, her black and white pictures depicting the troublesome, fleeting moments of warfare proceed to encourage new generations of girls photographers at present.

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 pictures of a war-ravaged Europe after World Battle II that earned her a robust status and a spot among the many world’s well-known feminine photographers.

Miller’s pictures of the Dachau and Buchenwald focus camps shaped 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 at present.

Mann is thought for centering on her family as main topics. Within the Nineties, she launched a sequence of pictures that includes her personal younger kids in intimate, usually weak poses.

The sequence 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 lots of truths that accumulate and construct up. I’m attempting to peel again and discover these wealthy layers of fact. All truths are troublesome to succeed in. — Sally Mann

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

11. Corinne Day (1962-2010)

When Corrine Day photographed a very unknown freckle-faced teen from Croydon, England, nobody might have anticipated simply how iconic the photographs would grow to be.

The mannequin was Kate Moss, and it was Day’s portraits of her that might 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 crucial revered and well-known feminine photographers.

Day later moved on from vogue and turned her hand to documentary images. A primary instance is her guide “Diary”, which options candid, intimate portraiture of her buddies that present the truth 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 principally as a portrait and documentary photographer. She created hanging 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 Images 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 through Wikimedia Commons

Born in Berlin in 1908, Gisèle Freund would go on to grow to be one of the crucial outstanding feminine photographers in Europe.

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

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

Regardless of her photojournalistic prowess, it was Freund’s portrait images that might cement her as one of the crucial well-known feminine photographers on the 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.

Residing for nearly a century, Freund created a powerful physique of labor and witnessed the event of images as an artwork.

14. Tina Mondotti (1896-1942)

Woman from Tehuantepec (Mexico), by Tina Modotti

Girl from Tehuantepec (Mexico), by Tina Modotti through 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 had been folks of the working class, scenes depicting indigenous tradition, people artwork and landscapes.

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

Modotti was exiled from Mexico in 1930 attributable to her prominence within the communist motion and her work in images 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 pictures of among the most well-known and glamorous topics on the planet – Marlene Dietrich and Marilyn Monroe amongst them.

Nevertheless, she didn’t solely {photograph} portraits of the wealthy and well-known, regardless of the success this introduced her. She additionally took unimaginable pictures of the poor, the previous, the commonplace, the unglamorous… and did so in a method that not many photographers have been capable of replicate.

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

Arnold is thought for turning into the first girl to affix the Magnum Picture Company, and for being one of many feminine photographers of her time to actually discover concepts and points about girls in her work.

She died in 2012 at age 99.

Well-known Up to date Feminine Photographers to Observe

1. Ellen von Unwerth 

German-born Ellen von Unwerth is arguably essentially the most well-known feminine photographer within the subject 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 pictures spotlight the feminine type in playful and erotic methods.

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

Whereas not all feminine photographers would method capturing pictures of girls in an overtly sexualised method, von Unwerth’s perspective as a lady shines via and her fashions usually say they really feel empowered quite 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, a lot 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 quite a few necessary 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 stunning.

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

Nonetheless lively and with new books and exhibitions on the horizon, Ming Smith is unquestionably 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 (generally known as “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 activity of protecting conflicts from the entrance line.

Usually commissioned to shoot in locations which can be significantly dangerous for a girl, Addario hasn’t put down her digicam regardless of being kidnapped twice.

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

Her pictures of warfare usually juxtapose a harrowing material with a thought-about and aesthetically-pleasing model of composition. Addario says that is her method of getting folks to have interaction with the pictures quite than turning away from troublesome topics.

If you wish to be impressed by feminine photographers working within the subject of photojournalism, Lynsey Addario is unquestionably one to comply with.

4. Hoda Afshar

Behrouz Boochani by Hoda Afshar

Behrouz Boochani by Hoda Afshar through Wikimedia Commons

Iranian-born Hoda Afshar is a well known feminine photographer now figuring out of Melbourne, Australia.

In 2006, the celebrated World Press Picture named her as one of many prime ten younger photographers in Iran.

She went on to win the 2015 Nationwide Portrait Prize and the 2018 Bowness Images Prize. In 2021, her photograph sequence on Australian whistleblowers received the Individuals’s Selection 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 troublesome matters, and bringing arduous truths to gentle in a artistic and sometimes stunning method.

5. Cindy Sherman

cindy sherman moma

“Cindy Sherman at MOMA” by solsken through Artistic Commons, licensed below CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Cindy Sherman is taken into account one of the crucial famend and necessary feminine photographers working at present.

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

In her self-portraits, Sherman usually makes use of apparent prosthetics and visual make-up to rework herself into a wide range of totally different characters. In doing this, she prompts the viewer to query our means of constructing an id.

I’m attempting to make different folks acknowledge one thing of themselves quite 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 exquisite, she’s additionally well-known for exploring, via her portraits, topics which can be uncomfortable and grotesque.

Her extremely distinctive model, thought-provoking pictures, and skill to carry out each behind and in entrance of the digicam, make Cindy Sherman a real game-changer of the images 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 pictures are wealthy, fantastical, dream-inducing; every one a murals in its personal proper.

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

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

If you wish to be constantly impressed by among the most ravishing fantasy images round, be sure you comply with her.

7. Pamela Hanson

With greater than 30 years of expertise within the vogue trade, photographer Pamela Hanson is frequently 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 pictures 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 gifted feminine photographers at present with so many factors of view. I feel it’s fantastic. The extra, the higher. — Pamela Hanson

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

Ultimate Phrases

It goes with out saying that there are various unimaginable feminine photographers – some who helped form historical past, and a few who’re creating it as we converse – who are usually 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 suppose are price keeping track of?

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



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