There was a time in the past when photography was considered as a field meant for men. It was truly hard for female photographers to make their way into this industry during those times. Despite all the struggles, many women from those times left their mark in the world of photography.
In this field of endeavor dominated by men, they were able to make their way and become successful. Here are some of these female photographers, who inspired many by their creativity and vision:
1. Christina Broom
She is credited as the United Kingdom’s first female press photographer. Christina Broom was born in 1862 and was the seventh of the eight children of her parents. In 1889, she married Albert Edward Broom. The family lost its source of income after her husband was unable to work owing to an injury.
She planned to take photographs and turn them into postcards for selling. It was during this process that she discovered her passion for photography. She started photographing soldiers who were stationed close to her home.
By 1914, she was selling her photographs of soldiers to Britain’s magazines and newspapers. Owing to her successful documentation of the British military, she became close to the Royal family. She was even granted the privilege of photographing the King and the Prince of Wales.
2. Ilse Bing
Ilse Bing was a surrealist and avant-garde German photographer. She was born to a wealthy German Jewish family in 1899. At the age of 14, she took her first self-portrait with a Kodak box camera. It was while working on a dissertation on the architect Friedrich Gilly that she developed an interest in photography. After finishing her studies, she gave up her dissertation and turned completely to photography.
She started working in photojournalism with a Leica camera, which was newly launched at the time. Ilse soon became known around Paris as the ‘Queen of the Leica’ because of this unique handheld Leica camera. She used to take all of her photographs using her Leica. Her most memorable works were produced while she was living in the French capital.
3. Dorothea Lange
Born as Dorothea Margaretta Nutzhorn in 1895, she was an American documentary photographer and photojournalist. She is best known for her works for the Farm Security Administration during The Great Depression. She studied photography at Columbia University while in New York City. Later, she moved to San Francisco for the purpose of opening a portrait studio.
She then began traveling around the United States as a documentary photographer. Dorothea documented the hardships faced by people living in rural America during The Great Depression in the 1930s. She became famous for her portrait called ‘Migrant Mother’. It captured what so many Americans were going through at the time.
4. Lee Miller
Miller began her career as a photographer and photojournalist after giving up fashion modeling. Born Elizabeth ‘Lee’ Miller in 1907, she had the renowned surrealist painter Man Ray among her first teachers. After an unsuccessful relationship with him, Miller worked for Vogue as a war correspondent during the Second World War.
She became famous for the photograph of her bathing in Hitler’s bathtub in 1945. It was taken by a fellow correspondent, David E Scherman. She was the only female combat photographer during the Second World War in Europe. Her notable works of those times include photographs of the liberation of the Dachau and Buchenwald concentration camps.