It is women’s history month, so to celebrate my love for photography and my respect for women in the industry, I dug a little deeper into the woman who helped shape the photography industry into what it is today.
Let’s point the lens on a few of these women, pay tribute to their artistic prowess, and acknowledge their contributions to photography.
Anna Atkins was a pioneering photographer and the first woman to be elected a Fellow of the Royal Society. She published what may be considered the first book of photographs, showcasing fruit and vegetables through an early process called photogenic drawing.
Her work has been very influential in modern art photography, especially since it was rediscovered during an exhibition at London’s Victoria & Albert Museum in 2013.
Imogen Cunningham spent a year in Dresden, Germany, where she studied the photographic process with Dr. Robert Luther, becoming proficient in platinum printing. Upon returning to the United States, Cunningham opened her own photography studio and later became a member of the Group f/64, known for their sharply focused photographs.
Imogen Cunningham became known for her close-up nature photography and nude and erotic photography.
Berenice Abbott was born in Maine in 1898; Abbot studied at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and moved to New York City in 1921, where she became a commercial photographer for Vogue, Vanity Fair, and Harper’s Bazaar.
Abbott also took on other projects, including photographing cityscapes like Central Park and skyscrapers and portraits for artists like Georgia O’Keeffe and Edward Hopper. She was known for using black-and-white film, which helped define her work as gritty realism or documentary-style photography.
Annie Leibovitz is a photographer known for portraying celebrities and the royal family; however, Leibovitz has produced images of both the Vietnam War and the Iraq War.
She received multiple awards for her work, including a Golden Lion at the Venice Biennale in 2005.
Lee Miller was a photographer and model who married the Surrealist artist Man Ray. During World War II, when Conde Nast hired her to photograph women on the home front, she also served as an official war correspondent in Europe, North Africa, and Asia Minor.
Her work has been featured in Vogue magazine many times over the years, including the cover photo in 1944 that shows her dressed up as a soldier with a rifle slung across her back:
These women have had a giant impact on the photography world.
These women have greatly impacted the photography world, and each had to overcome obstacles to succeed. They have each played an essential role in the history of photography. Some may be more familiar than others, but they all made significant contributions that helped shape the medium as we know it today.