The fashion community has become increasingly vocal in recent years about the industry's male-dominated presence. Names like Mario Testino, Peter Lindbergh, and Patrick Demarchelier have dominated fashion photography. Still, female photographers like Corinne Day — and her magnific photos of young Kate Moss —, Sarah Moon and Frances McLaughlin-Gill are often forgotten.
The male gaze has been around for decades in fashion photography, evident in the images of slender, light-skinned women with long straight hair and large breasts. While these photos have been popular for a long time, the industry is finally starting to change.
The Female Gaze of 20 Amazing Fashion Photographers
The female gaze is paving the way for contemporary photographers who are trying to bring some diversity to the fashion world. This new type of photography will not only benefit models but also society as a whole by showing that all types of bodies are equally attractive.
To prove the increasing power of the female gaze in fashion today, here are 20 amazing fashion photographers who are creating work to break down barriers and change the narrative:
20. Stella Morais
Born in Brazil and currently based in London, Stella Morais is a self-taught photographer interested in empowering women through visual art. She works with all-female teams to bring to life images that experiment with neutral tones and a combination of styles inspired by music, cinema, books, and current events.
Morais has collaborated with brands such as Topshop, Toni&Guy and L'Oreal. Her editorial clients include Vogue Portugal, L’Officiel Mexico, Wonderland Magazine, and more.
Rosaline Shahnavaz's unique style casts a fresh and dazzling light on women of today. She creates an empowering atmosphere for her models to express themselves without limitations, capturing their passion and enthusiasm.
Her editorial work includes collaborations with Allure, British GQ, i-D, Vogue, Tatler. She has also worked with brands such as Burberry, Chanel, Jacquemus and Miu Miu.
18. Yelena Yemchuk
Yemchuk's pictures have been shown in museums and galleries all over the world, and she is known for her surrealistic whimsy and dark romanticism. She's collaborated with publications such as the New Yorker, Another Magazine, i-D, Dazed & Confused, and Italian, British, and Japanese Vogue.
17. Julia Noni
Julia Noni discovered her love of photography while studying visual arts in Düsseldorf. Her multidisciplinary knowledge of visual arts is reflected in her graphic and sensitive photos.
The Italian photographer combines colours and textures to create photos that pop off the page. Noni has shot for magazines such as Vogue, W, and Harper's Bazaar, and worked for brands like Kenzo, Louis Vuitton, and Cartier, to name a few.
16. Olivia Malone
Adidas, Diane von Furstenberg, Levi’s, Uniqlo and Urban Outfitters are just a few of the brands that Olivia Malone has worked with over her career. Her photography highlights the freedom, individuality and independence of youth.
Besides working as a photographer, she has shot multiple music videos, including Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” and Miley Cyrus’ “We Can’t Stop”.
15. Julia Hetta
Julia Hetta's images offer a glimpse into another world, steeped in the romanticism and serenity of classical paintings. To create this impressive aesthetic, the Swedish photographer works almost entirely with natural light and extended exposure.
Her work has been featured in Vogue Italia and British Vogue. She has also collaborated with high-fashion brands like Gucci, Christian Dior, Alexander McQueen, Jil Sander.
14. Zoe Ghertner
Zoe Ghertner has become one of the brightest names in fashion photography in recent years. For Ghertner, less is more — her approach emphasises true-to-form textures and an approachable beauty, even in the most unexpected of settings.
Her advertising clients include Proenza Schouler, Céline, and Hermes, to name a few.
13. Pamela Hanson
With over 30 years of experience in fashion photography, Pamela Hanson was one of the first women to change the scene of contemporary fashion photography. Vogue, Elle, Glamour, Porter, Harper’s Bazaar, Vanity Fair, and GQ are just a few of Hanson's notable clientele.
A celebration of female beauty and self-assurance, her most recent book Private Room (2016) consists of a series of photographs taken at a small hotel on the Bowery in New York City.
12. Emma Summerton
Australian photographer Emma Summerton has established herself as one of the most accomplished photographers of her generation. Her in-depth technical knowledge — combined with her keen eye for detail and passion for fashion — has resulted in unique photos.
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11. Paola Kudacki
Paola Kudacki's greatest strength may be her adaptability. The Argentinian is equally at ease shooting exquisite celebrity portraits as she is ingratiating herself in a rough New York City setting.
Kudacki's work has appeared in publications such as ELLE, Paper, and W Korea. She has also worked with brands such as Via Spiga, Puma, and CoverGirl.
10. Zhang Jingna
Born in Beijing and raised in Singapore, Zhang Jingna is certainly a name you’ll be hearing a lot in the next years. Currently based in the US, her work is inspired by the Pre-Raphaelites and Japanese anime. Jingna interweaves Asian aesthetics with Western art forms, creating fresh and fascinating images.
From air rifle gold winner to Forbes Asia 30 under 30 fashion photographer, her work has been featured on Vogue Japan and Harper's Bazaar China. And that’s not everything — even Guillermo del Toro has given Zhang’s some love.
Born in Woodstock, Autumn de Wilde has an impressive portfolio that includes Rolling Stones, Filter and Nylon. When it comes to fashion, her work with couture designers Kate and Laura Mulleavy of Rodarte can’t go unnoticed.
De Wilde made her debut in feature film direction in 2020 with the most recent adaptation of Jane Austen’s Emma, starring Anya Taylor-Johnson.
Born in South East London, Nadine Ijewere is interested in issues of identity. Informed by her Nigerian and Jamaican heritage, Ijewere is drawn to non-traditional facial features and her work is focused on bringing more diversity to the fashion industry.
Ijewere is the first woman of colour to shoot the cover of any Vogue edition in the magazine’s 125-year history. She has also worked with Dior, Gap, Hermes, Stella McCartney and Valentino Red.
Russian photographer and artist Elizaveta Porodina has become famous for her surrealist images and vibrant colours. Inspired by science-fiction, her experimental work is filled with symbolism, making her one of the most exciting fashion photographers today.
Porodina has worked with names like Chloé Sevigny, Janelle Monae and Grimes and her photographs have been featured in The Cut, GQ and Vogue all over the world.
6. Cass Bird
Cass Bird made an impression with her whimsical, utterly feminine photos that delves into the depths of what it means to be a woman.
Born in Los Angeles, Bird has worked on editorials and covers for publications such as i-D, WSJ, and Vogue. H&M, Jimmy Choo, and Calvin Klein are but a few of her advertising clients.
5. Lina Tesch
German-born, London-based photographer Lina Tesch has become recognised for her bold and dramatic style. Her distinct aesthetic has landed collaborations with Puma, Dior and Swarovski, amongst others.
Her loyal Instagram following is obsessed with her images. Besides working behind the camera lenses, she also frequently models for other photographers.
4. Lara Jade
The Staffordshire-born artist discovered her passion for photography at the age of 14. Jade has gathered quite a large following on social media and her work has been featured on Harper’s Bazaar UK, Vogue Japan, InStyle, ISSUE Magazine and more.
Jade is inspired by the elegance and beauty that can be found in feminine strength and her photos have been described as timeless and expressive.
3. Chen Man
Described as China’s top fashion photographer, Chen Man has become internationally praised for her work with household names like Louis Vuitton, Piaget and Chanel, as well as her editorials for Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar.
Her hyperrealistic style blends Eastern and Western references to create an aesthetic that is refreshingly beautiful.
Born in Germany, Ellen von Unwerth began her fashion career as a model before becoming a director and photographer. During her time as a model, she began to see that there was a lack of female freedom in the industry.
Von Unwerth started taking her own pictures after receiving a camera as a gift from her boyfriend. After seeing her work published for the first time, she developed a passion for photography and went on to work for Vogue, Interview, Vanity Fair, The Face, I-D, as well as brands such as Equinox, Clinique, and Revlon. Von Unwerth has also directed music videos and short films for a variety of fashion designers.
With her impressive online presence and unashamed girly aesthetic, Petra Collins is taking the fashion world by storm. Her brief but already impressive career has turned her into one of the most prominent names in fashion today.
Collins' photos have already been featured on CR Fashion Book, i-D, and Vogue. Urban Outfitters and Levi's are two of her advertising clients.
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