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Inspiring Female Photographers

Inspiring Female Photographers

In celebration of International Women’s Day I thought it would be lovely to share some of my favourite female photographers that inspire me.

I have been taking photographs since I was a little girl and for most of my life I have been really struck by the fact that most professional and amateur photographers seem to be men. At trade shows and at photography societies they were all there with big, heavy back packs full of equipment. 

When I was a wedding photographer there would always be an uncle at the wedding with more lenses than I had. Sometimes they would even have the same camera as me and I would sigh and go and get my bigger, heavier, way more expensive camera (that I didn’t actually like!) out of the car and use that instead. 

When I was 15 I went on a creative holiday with my family where we all went to different lessons during the first week. My Dad and I did the photography lessons and I think it was just me and then all the dads. The teacher was also a man but a man that had a huge influence on me in a very short amount of time. I won the prize for the best image at the end of the week and the dads were all pretty grumpy. How could my little camera of created a better image than one they had taken with all their fancy kit? 

Well, how funny is it that now over 20 years later I am teaching people that it doesn’t matter what camera you have, it’s what you do with it that counts? This is something I have passionately believed ever since that week of photography in the sunshine. 

I also think it’s interesting that 20 years later I am surrounded by so many talented female photographers. Some of these women probably don’t even think of themselves as photographers and yet they inspire me by the way they see and capture the world every day. 

I like to think that in 2016 being a female photographer isn’t unusual. I have no stats on this and am not going to check because in my world there are brilliant female photographers everywhere and all over my internet, even if the last photographic equipment catalogue I received in the post only had men modelling the cameras and bags!

So, which female photographers inspire me. 

Annie Leibovitz has inspired me for a long tim and I wish I hadn’t been struck down with tonsillitis and had seen this exhibition earlier this year. It’s travelling, so see it if you can and if you can’t just make time to watch this short video. That is inspiration in itself! 

Imogen Cunningham, particularly her botanical images.

But today I think I am more influenced by photographers on Instagram and Pinterest than those in my books and in galleries. That’s not to say I don’t still love going to gallery shows and being completely absorbed in the moment and the images, or curling up with one of my photography books but having inspiration in my every day is so incredible. 

Many years ago I used Flickr like I use Instagram today and both have had a huge influence on my own work. The vast majority of people I follow are women and a large number of my followers are women too. My work is unashamedly feminine, so this isn’t really surprising. But it’s just so wonderful too and something that I could never have imagined all those years ago. 

Here are just a few of the photographers on Instagram that I’d admire. I had a complete 'where to start' moment when I thought about writing this post, so this really is a tiny snap shot! 

Purple gnocchi memories 🔮

A photo posted by Nicole Franzen (@nicole_franzen) on

lila claire. aged 7 1/4. #everyquartercounts

A photo posted by merry maker. picture taker. (@andreahanki) on

And then there is the wonderful Makelight Community that has grown up around my teaching. A community that definitely inspires me just as much as I hope I inspire them. So, I really wanted to include some of the Makelight students in this post. Again there are so many women doing wonderful things, so this is simply a handful.

I hope you have enjoyed this as much as I’ve enjoyed writing it. It’s been a wonderful thing to really reflect on today. Happy International Women’s Day! xo 

I want to just end by saying that I know so many amazing male photographers too. And have been inspired by so many throughout my life and still am today. But today’s about the women who inspire me and is a celebration of them. xoxo

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