Similar to many spaces throughout history, photography is often seen as an oversaturated market for men, but thanks to the confidence and passion of many women, the world of photography has undoubtedly been changed forever. Here we take a moment to celebrate just a few of the world’s most iconic and celebrated female photographers, from Dorothea Lange and Diane Arbus to Sally Man and Annie Leibovitz.
Dorothea Lange (1895-1965)
Recognised as one of the most important documentary photographers and photojournalists in America, Dorothea Lange is most famous for her work during the Great Depression of the 20th century.
At the behest of the Farm Security Administration (FSA), Lange captured over 16,000 images of those hardest hit by the Great Depression, including the now iconic image of Florence Owens Thompson and her children entitled Migrant Mother.
Gerda Taro (1910-1937)
A pioneer in photojournalism, particularly in war, Gera Taro – born Gerta Pohorylle – was a German Jewish photographer active during the Spanish Civil War. Sadly, she is also regarded as the first woman photojournalist to have died while capturing the devastation of war.
Taro was also romantically involved with Endre Ernö Friedmann and together they created the alias Robert Capa. In fact, many photographs attributed to Capa were actually taken by Taro.
Diane Arbus (1923-1971)
Diane Arbus was an American photograph who focused on a very specific demographic – the marginalised. From dwarfs to giants, transgender people to circus performers and everything in between, Arbus was fascinated by these surreal personas – which are just as fascinating as real money slots.
Celebrated for her incredibly ability to separate her subjects from their society, Arbus’ portraits still showed intimacy and she was especially talented at getting her subject to trust her and allow her into their world.
Mary Ellen Mark (1940-2015)
Most famous for her collection entitled Streetwise, Mary Ellen Mark was an American photojournalist who focused primary on people who existed “away from mainstream society”.
Though widely celebrated as a photojournalist and documentary photographer, Mark’s images surpass genre and she brought to light the people who faced the many social struggles of the time.
Annie Leibovitz (1949- )
Arguably one of the most recognisable names in the art world, Annie Leibovitz grew up across various American cities and started studying photography at the San Francisco Institute of Art in 1970. Just 3 years later, she was named Chief Photographer of Rolling Stone magazine, a position she held for 10 years before moving onto Vanity Fair.
Known for her highly conceptual work, Leibovitz is most well-known for photographing the famous.
Sally Man (1951- )
Widely celebrated in the world of fine art, Sally Man’s images are typically large format black and white photographs, with an intense focus on the unnerving aspects of life.
Particularly adept at creating beautiful images in which the viewer feels that something is just slightly off or wrong, Man often used her own family members as subjects – even in their most intimate moments – and effectively uses landscapes to form part of the narrative.