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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 pictures and all the things in between.

On this article, we’ll take a look at a few of the most well-known feminine photographers from all through the years, in addition to introduce some superb 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 bounce 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.

When you’ve ever questioned, “Who’s probably 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 in the event you 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 Honest.

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 number of.

Moreover her charming superstar portraits, Leibovitz has photographed numerous vogue editorials for magazines like Vogue. In these, Leibovitz turns supermodels into fantasy figures, typically 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 bought her large 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 avenue pictures offers 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 Fifties and ’60s.

One of many distinctive issues about Maier’s unbelievable story is that her hundreds of pictures went unpublished and unknown throughout her lifetime.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 photos as a facet undertaking.

It was solely in 2009, simply after her loss of life, that digitized images shared on Flickr went viral and Maier turned a certifiable avenue pictures 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 images, 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 Honest. Her portraiture is prized for its intimacy and depth.

I flip individuals 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 bunch recognized for its consideration to element and sharp specializing in easy topics.

She continued taking pictures till shortly earlier than her loss of life at age 93, abandoning a big and putting physique of labor that continues to be broadly appreciated.

4. Nan Goldin (1953-)

Nan Goldin is among 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 manner, 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 file of actual life. That included having a digital camera 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.

Through the Nice Melancholy, she labored for the Farm Safety Administration (FSA) capturing the trials and hardships of working-class individuals as they went about day by 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 may inform a heart-rending story in regards to 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 probably the most essential Put up-Fashionable American photographers full cease.

Arbus’ pictures are credited with serving to to normalize these on the fringes of society. She typically targeted on marginalized topics like circus performers, transgender individuals, dwarfs, and the mentally unwell.

{A photograph} is a secret a couple of secret. The extra it tells you the much less . – 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 pictures world.

7. Margaret Bourke-White (1904-1971)

American Way of Life by Margaret Bourke-White

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

On the earth of documentary pictures, Margaret Bourke-White is definitely a feminine photographer that stands out.

She was the primary lady photographer to work for LIFE Journal, and the primary recognized feminine struggle correspondent allowed to work in fight zones throughout World Struggle 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 delicate factor. You have to let the digital camera 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 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 lady photojournalist to have died whereas protecting the frontline in a struggle.

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

Although Taro’s profession was sadly minimize brief, her black and white images depicting the troublesome, fleeting moments of struggle 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 Struggle II that earned her a robust repute and a spot among the many world’s well-known feminine photographers.

Miller’s images of the Dachau and Buchenwald focus camps fashioned a few of the first photographic proof of the horrors of the holocaust.

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

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 understood 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, typically weak poses.

The sequence turned extremely controversial, but their evocative magnificence and distinctive perspective on childhood are simple.

I feel reality is a layered phenomenon. There are numerous truths that accumulate and construct up. I’m attempting to peel again and discover these wealthy layers of reality. All truths are troublesome to succeed in. — Sally Mann

Finest recognized for her large-format black and white portrait images, 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 grow to be.

The mannequin was Kate Moss, and it was Day’s portraits of her that may 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 probably the most revered and well-known feminine photographers.

Day later moved on from vogue and turned her hand to documentary pictures. A first-rate instance is her ebook “Diary”, which options candid, intimate portraiture of her associates 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 principally as a portrait and documentary photographer. She created putting and emotive compositions that strongly targeted on form and kind.

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 Pictures 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 digital camera with black and white movie for her elegant and memorable images.

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 probably the most distinguished feminine photographers in Europe.

All through her profession, she launched into round 80 photographic assignments world wide – 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 pictures that may cement her as probably the most 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 typically 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 pictures as an artwork.

14. Tina Mondotti (1896-1942)

Woman from Tehuantepec (Mexico), by Tina Modotti

Lady 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 turned deeply immersed in Mexican tradition and politics, and the evolution of her political concepts made a robust impression on her images.

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

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

Modotti was exiled from Mexico in 1930 resulting from 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 understood for capturing pictures of a few of 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 unbelievable images of the poor, the previous, the commonplace, the unglamorous… and did so in a manner that not many photographers have been in a position to 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 understood for changing into the first lady to affix 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 Observe

1. Ellen von Unwerth 

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

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

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

I’ve at all times cherished 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 pictures of girls in an overtly sexualised manner, von Unwerth’s perspective as a girl shines via and her fashions typically say they really feel empowered reasonably than exploited.

Ellen von Unwerth’s profession took off after she took images 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 Seventies for being a part of the influential Kamoinge collective of black photographers.

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

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

Smith’s type, largely black and white, is candid, unassuming and undeniably stunning.

She works with varied methods – each in-camera methods like gradual shutter speeds and deliberate performs with focus, and darkroom methods 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 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 (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 pressure to be reckoned with, all through her profession taking over the courageous activity of protecting conflicts from the entrance line.

Usually commissioned to shoot in locations which might be significantly dangerous for a lady, Addario hasn’t put down her digital camera regardless of being kidnapped twice.

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

Her pictures of struggle typically juxtapose a harrowing material with a thought-about and aesthetically-pleasing type of composition. Addario says that is her manner of getting individuals to have interaction with the images reasonably than turning away from troublesome topics.

If you wish to be impressed by feminine photographers working within the area of photojournalism, Lynsey Addario is certainly 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 understanding of Melbourne, Australia.

In 2006, the distinguished World Press Photograph 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 Pictures Prize. In 2021, her photograph sequence on Australian whistleblowers gained the Folks’s Alternative Award on the Ramsay Artwork Awards.

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

Works created by Afshar typically blur the road between what’s actual and conceptual – a technique she calls “staged documentary”, and her work is understood for difficult assumptions, exploring troublesome subjects, and bringing arduous truths to gentle in a inventive and infrequently stunning manner.

5. Cindy Sherman

cindy sherman moma

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

Cindy Sherman is taken into account probably the most famend and essential 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 typically 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 individuals acknowledge one thing of themselves reasonably 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, via her portraits, topics which might be uncomfortable and grotesque.

Her extremely distinctive type, thought-provoking pictures, and skill to carry out each behind and in entrance of the digital camera, make Cindy Sherman a real game-changer of the pictures world.

6. Bella Kotak

One take 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 understood 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 creative post-production.

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

If you wish to be persistently impressed by a few of the most ravishing fantasy pictures round, make sure to comply with her.

7. Pamela Hanson

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

She’s additionally photographed many promoting campaigns for main vogue and wonder 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 pictures books, together with Women – a 200+ web page photograph ebook stuffed with private {and professional} work – and the follow-up ebook Boys.

Closing Phrases

It goes with out saying that there are numerous unbelievable feminine photographers – some who helped form historical past, and a few who’re creating it as we communicate – who will not be 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?

Depart a remark beneath and assist others uncover feminine photographers they won’t but learn about! We’d love your enter.



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