International Women’s Day is celebrated around the world each year on March 8.
Historically, photography has been a male-dominated field. But there’s no denying that women have influenced the art of photography, often unrecognized against the backdrop of their famous male colleagues. Female photographers have played a large role in the growth of the medium. With this in mind, take a look at five influential female photographers making strides in the industry from all over the world.
Irene Tondelli was born in Carpi, Italy in 1987. Tondelli graduated with a BA in photography from Libera Accademia di Belle Arti in Brescia, Italy. Tondelli’s work is focused on topographic landscape. With an ability to pick up intimate details, she captures the relationship between men and nature and landscape and memory. Tondelli’s work has been featured nationally and internationally in magazines and websites.
As both a photographer and photography teacher, Tondelli’s pictures take viewers into Nordic landscapes. Her landscape pictures feature the pristine lands of Sweden that look as if it were during times before man left his mark. Her landscape photographs are transfixing. She teaches her students in Italy how photography tells a story. Tondelli said her work was inspired by an essay she read by the Italian writer Giacomo Leopardi titled “Dialogue Between Nature and An Icelander”. It was Leopardi’s essay that led her to explore her own relationship with nature through the lens of her camera. Her research began with Iceland as her subject as she traveled throughout the isle, often sleeping in a tent in order to avoid any human interruption so she could communicate solely with nature.
Tondelli was mentioned by Gup Magazine in their celebration of the best photography talent in Europe, Fresh Eyes, as one of the 100 best emerging photographers in 2019.
Fine Art Photography
Fine art photographer Alexandra Diez De Rivera’s photography has been published in major publications that include Vanity Fair, Shanghai Daily, and FT Magazine. Her work has been exhibited in galleries in the United Kingdom where she lives and countries across the globe. De Rivera is known for her focus on the house she grew up in, a house that has sheltered twelve generations. In her work, she explores the possibility of a photograph capturing the spirit of a place.
De Rivera graduated with an MA in Fine Art Photography from the Royal College of Art in London. During her time earning her MA she had three solo exhibitions in Shanghai. After being a nominee multiple times in 2019, De Rivera was a finalist in 2020 in the Critical Mass Competition. Today De Rivera’s work is represented in private collections throughout the world including China, France, Italy, Spain, and the UAE.
De Rivera is currently exploring themes around history, memory, and transience as she experiments with techniques at the Royal College of Art in London. De Rivera strongly believes her work uses photography as a tool not only for remembrance but for preservation. Her study “The Affective Archive” is built around memory, mortality, and transience through a series of objects. These objects are highly personal to her as originate from the house that she grew up in. De Rivera shares an intimate look into a home now deteriorating.
Documentary & Photojournalism
Twenty-seven-year-old Jasmine Jones of Hartford, Connecticut is the founder of A Field of Stone. The young photographer and filmmaker’s work focuses on daily life and the overlooked moments. In her own words, she focuses on the “ignored communities”. Her mission as a photographer is to utilize her art to give those who should be seen and heard the opportunity to tell their stories. Vitally important to her, Jones is shining a light on the lack of black women photographers in the industry. Her street photography includes documentation of protests and activism. Jones’ work is a lesson without words for photographers studying composition in both her street and documentary photography.
Jones is the publisher of Aislin Magazine. In both her publishing and photography endeavors, Jones aims to showcase those not given a voice as well as put a face to those who must be seen. She offers her art as an outlet to those who need to tell their stories.
Patricia Imbarus picked up a camera at the young age of thirteen and has rarely been seen without one since. As a travel photographer, she travels between Lisbon and Berlin. Her background in sustainability-driven entrepreneurship and her wander lust are at the heart of her work.
Imbarus loves shooting outdoors for the context it adds to the story unfolding in front of her lens. She believes shooting on location adds another layer of depth to the images around her. Because of the international aspect of her work and frequent travels, Imbarus does not have a studio. She works from a network of partner studios from major cities like Milan, Paris, and London.
Imbarus’s work has been featured in the travel magazine icon Conde Nast Traveler. One of her favorite things about being a travel photographer is the ability it offers her to explore destinations beyond her own backyard. Imbarus has traveled and shot in Costa Rica, Morocco, Indonesia, and the Canary Islands to name a few. The fact that she speaks six languages makes her able to communicate with whoever she meets during her travels, crucial for any photographer interacting with people from another land. Through a rich and enticing style, she invites viewers to see the world through what many have called an optimistic lens.
Born on December 10, 1963, Gillian Wearing is a conceptual artist from Birmingham, United Kingdom. Her street photography encompasses video and text. Her most celebrated work is Signs - signs that say what you want them to say and not Signs that say what someone else wants you to say. A street photography project, Signs focuses on portraits of strangers met while she explored the streets of London. Wearing approached each subject, pen and paper in hand, asking them to write their thoughts down. Surprised by the results, it changed how she perceived them. Wearing’s work focuses on individuality of people and how people see themselves.
Wearing’s subjects came from different backgrounds but were banded together through this sole act. As Wearing put it “all of a sudden you have to start re-appraising people”. Wearing feels the exchange between herself and her subjects made the interaction a conversation unlike what portrait photography can do.
Wearing was most recently bestowed with an Honorary Doctorate from Birmingham City University of England.
A renowned nature photographer and writer, Amy Gulick’s images have been published in some of the most prestigious nature publications in the business including Outdoor Photographer, National Wildlife, Audubon, and Sierra.
As one of the founding fellows of the International League of Conservation Photographers, she has made significant contributions in conservation photography. Gulick’s image “Scorched Beauty” was named a finalist in the London Natural History Museum’s Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition, one of the most prestigious nature photography contests in the world. Gulick’s image was a striking black and white abstract of a burnt forest in Yellowstone. It was one of one hundred finalists in a competition that garnered forty-six thousand entries from around the world.
Gulick’s work has was honored with the prestigious Daniel Housberg Wilderness Image Award from the Alaska Conservation Foundation. She is the recipient of a Philip Hyde Grant for her work in Alaska’s Tongass National Forest. Her desire to bring more attention to wildlife and conservation matters resulted in the publication of her book Salmon in the Trees: Life in Alaska’s Tongass Rain Forest,winner of two Nautilus Book Awards.Gulick is an active member of the Society of Environmental Journalists and the North American Photography Association.
The lesser-known female photographer has been too often overlooked. With just a brief look at these five ground breaking female photographers, we see women bringing a different perspective to the field. No matter what part of the world they hail from, each and every one continues to share their view from their own unique lens.