Let’s get real here, how many female photographers can you name? Chances are, the number isn’t very high. Although women are praised for being models and muses in front of the camera, they aren’t getting much recognition for the work they’re doing behind it.
To truly understand the seriousness of the situation, here is a crash course lesson on the history of fashion photography. The first fashion publications such as Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue, were founded in the late 1800s. They started off using fashion illustration and didn’t move to photography until Condé Nast hired Baron Adolph de Meyer, who was male, to shoot portraits of models that were later used for fashion editorials.
As magazines grew increasingly popular in the 20th century, the demand for fashion photographs also increased. The 20s and 30s held the rise of couture in Paris with brands like Chanel, Balenciaga and Lanvin proudly presenting their creations with the help of top photographers of the time, like Horst P. Horst, Cecil Beaton and Erwin Blumenfeld (again, all male!) Even as the fashion world grew and iconic, empowered women emerged at its forefront, the photography section of the industry still belonged to men. It was only in the 70s, when social changes like feminism were on the rise, did women start to step into the role behind the camera. Sarah Moon and Eve Arnold were some of the first to bring a fresh perspective to Vogue.
Although there has been a surge of female voices entering the game, males still dominate, usually shooting female models and womenswear pieces. Why are men still chiefly desired for the job when women are the main subject? Does it suggest that the 'male gaze' of women is supreme? As 2016 comes to a close, it is time to start paying respect to the women behind the fashion lens. Women’s views are smart, interesting, unique, incredibly relevant and worthy of being seen. Luckily for you, we rounded up 10 of the coolest gals behind the lens - some already established, some on the come-up - for you to champion with us.
Our favourite Toronto gal obviously makes the top of our list. When she’s not busy modelling for Gucci or writing powerful feminist essays, you can find this 23 year-old shooting cover after cover for Wonderland (yes, including Kim K’s) and NYLON. With every photo she takes, Petra transports us to her nostalgic, dream land and she leaves us feeling in love each time.
Harley Weir is the cool yet untouchable girl everyone wants to be. With big clients such as AnOther, i-D, Margiela, Calvin Klein, and Balenciaga all under her belt, it’s no wonder that she’s now one of fashion photography’s hottest picks. Her photos are raw, intimate, and beautiful. The minute you start to lurk her work, you’ll be captivated.
Known for her flawless imagery of women and still life, it’s evident why Zoe is at the top of her game. Her photos, always shot in natural light, capture the true beauty of the clothing as well as the model presenting it. Her work can be found with clients such as Dazed, Céline, Chanel and Dior.
You can catch Carin Backoff backstage at practically any runway show. And while everyone around her is rushing around and stressing out, she is magically able to capture the beauty of it all. With LOVE Magazine being at the top of collaboration list, it’s quite evident why she’s so in demand.
You don’t come across many like Brianna Capozzi. While having the main focus always on the models, Capozzi always finds a way to incorporate the set as well. She’s not afraid to experiment and get a bit weird, which is what makes her stand out in the crowd. Not sure about you, but we’re obsessed.
No one can do romantics like Julia Hetta can. Every shot is classical, powerful and alluring. Whatever the photo is presenting, you’re captured by the beauty of the piece. Julia works with everyone from Lanvin and Alexander McQueen to Chloé and Hermes, so she’s obviously fashion photography royalty.
Toronto turned London cool girl, Sarah Blais might be the gal you’re looking for next time you’re in need of some serious inspo. Not only are her Instagram and Tumblr #GOALS, she also produces some pretty wicked original pictures. Brands like Beaufille obviously agree with us considering that she’s their go-to photographer.
Driely is a textbook definition girl boss. With no formal training, Driely has been able to move up in the ranks thanks to the fact that every photo she takes perfectly captures the beauty of the moment. And if Kanye loves her than she’s obviously got to have a pretty good rep. But it’s not only Ye; Driely is a regular on Vogue’s Instagram page.
This young photographer - who has recently collaborated with Vogue and Pat McGrath - also doubles as a designer, making feminist t-shirts and lingerie with her best friend for "It's Me and You."
Described to be a 'freezer of time,' popular for catching moments and glimpses of humanity, it’s not a shocker that Asia Werbel is a backstage regular at Fashion Week. Working closely with LOVE magazine, she is always able to capture the beauty within the madness.