International Women’s Day celebrates and honours women everywhere. Originally, its aim was to provide a forum for women to campaign for equality but overtime this initial intention has evolved marking International Women’s Day as a day to inspire and celebrate women everywhere!
We want to take a moment on this day to celebrate a few strong women from photography’s rich history who were pioneers of their time and shaped photography as we know it today!
Up first is Anna Atkins. Atkins is one of the first women to take a photograph and the first person to create a book that utilised photography as opposed to illustration. Anna Atkins was interested in botany, and through her exploration and utilisation of cyanotypes Atkins cemented photography as an accepted medium for scientific documentation and illustration!
Photo: Anna Atkins Google Images
Annie Leibovitz is a portrait photographer who has captured famous faces such as John Lennon and Yoko Ono, Sting and even Queen Elizabeth II. Leibovitz’s portraits showcase her subjects in intimate settings and poses. Leibovitz is known for staging playful and expressive moments to show off her sitters personality. Annie Leibovitz became the first women to be named chief photographer at Rolling Stone magazine and was the first women ever to have a solo exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery in D.C.
Photo: Annie Leibovitz Google Images
Dorothea Lange was a documentary photographer and photojournalist. Lange is best known for her documentation photographs of the Depression era. Lange travelled across America documenting the hardships that the country was facing. Lange’s photographs where much less concerned with “art” and far more concerned with acting as a vehicle for social awareness and change. Lange stayed committed in her ability to create social change through the power of photography throughout her entire life.
Photo: Dorothea Lange Google Images
Claude Cahun was a French photographer who is best known for their Surrealist self-portraits. Cahun explored and questioned traditional gender roles in their work. Cahun identified as a-gender and would dress up in their self-portraits. At the beginning of World War Two Cahun produced propaganda against Nazi Germany and was arrested by the Gestapo as a result. Cahun remained in prison until they were liberated at the end of the war. They continued to create photographs until their death.
Photo: Claude Cahun Google Images
The history, presence, and recognition of women in photography is vast and is only getting bigger. Here we only touched on a handful of pioneers and trailblazers but did not come close to outlining just what amazing things women in photography have achieved.
How Can I Celebrate International Women’s Day?
Support Women Artists
Buy a piece of work, share their socials or utilise their service!
Put aside some time to look after yourself and recognise what an amazing woman you are!
You could even book in a portrait session to celebrate the successful and strong women that you exemplify and get a bad ass portrait to show it!