Woman and camera

Today is International Women’s Day – a celebration of women’s cultural achievements and a call for the acceleration of equality for women. Here are some of the photographers I most admire (every day of the year), and they are women.

[header image Madame Yevonde 1965 self portrait National Portrait gallery]

Anna Atkins (1799-1871) has been a huge influence in my seaweed photogram work. Producing the first ever photographically (photogram) illustrated publication ‘British Algae’, Anna Atkins is a seaweed sister.

Anna Atkins Alaria Esculenta 1849

Anna Atkins, Sargassum Plumosum c.1850

Madame Yevonde (1893-1975) was another pioneer, an early experimenter with colour photography. Everytime I look at this work I am astonished by the dates.

Madame Yevonde, Mrs Edward Mayer as Medusa c.1935

Below some of Madame Yevonde’s advertising work 1937-1938

Hannah Hoch (1889-1976) was a Dada artist and an innovator in photomontage.

Hannah Hoch, The Beautiful Girl 1920

Hannah Hoch, Bouquet Of Eyes 1930

Bauhaus photographer Grete Stern (1904-1999) created a wonderful suite of dream photomontages following a commission for an Argentinian magazine’s weekly psychoanalysis feature.

Grete Stern, Eternal Eye 1950

Grete Stern, Dream No.1 Electrical Appliances For The Home 1949

Bernice Abbot (1898-1991) started as Man Ray’s darkroom assistant. She photographed the changing architecture of 1930s New York and used photography to document science concepts.

Bernice Abbot, Behaviour Of Waves 1962

Margaret Bourke-White (1904-1971) was Life Magazine’s first woman photographer.

Margaret Bourke-White, Log Rafts, Canadian International Paper Company 1937

Margaret Bourke-White, Wind Tunnel Construction, Fort Peck Dam, Montana 1936

Imogen Cunningham (1883-1976) generated a wealth of beautiful images across architecture and portraiture. It is her still life and plant works that I enjoy the most.

Imogen Cunningham, Five Eggs 1951

Imogen Cunningham, Hand and leaves of Voodoo Lily 1972

Diane Arbus (1923-1971) ‘“A photograph is a secret about a secret. The more it tells you the less you know.”

Diane Arbus, Lady Bartender at Home with a Souvenir Dog, New Orleans L.A. 1964 

Cindy Sherman (b.1954) was a favourite of mine at photography college, in particular her Untitled Film Stills.

Cindy Sherman, Untitled Film Still #58, 1980

Cindy Sherman, Untitled Film Still #5, 1977

My Fay Godwin (1931-2005) books of landscapes are usually nearby, but it is her series Glassworks that haunt me.

Fay Godwin, Meall Mor, Glencoe 1989

Fay Godwin, Untitled from NZ Glassworks series, 1990

Gunnie Moberg (1941-2007) the Swedish Orcadian, was a friend of Fay Godwin. I was fortunate to work with the Gunnie Moberg Archive for two years, a very stimulating time.

Gunnie Moberg, Honesty c.1995

Gunnie Moberg, North Ronaldsay Sheep Dyke c.1979


images from

Gunnie Moberg: Gunnie Moberg Archive, Orkney Library & Archive

British Library website

Imogen Cunningham Trust website

MoMA website

ArtBlat blogsite

chewonstyrofoam blogsite

brainpickings website