Female photographers working in documentary photography.

Women have always played an important role in photography and the realm of humanistic image making is one where they simply excel. 

This page is dedicated to female photographers working in documentary and photojournalism.
Please reach out to us if you have a story that you think would be relevant for our readers. Below are a few links, more to follow.

The Mathews Family - Saratoga Springs, Utah. Copyright Barb Peacock.

Recently I discovered Barb Peacock and her astonishing photographs that lie within her book, American Bedroom. These are so good it was decided to share her work, and crowd funding link here, see below...

"Greetings. I'm Barb Peacock. I've had a long career as a professional photographer living in New England with my family and four-legged fur babies.
Although life has been full and hectic juggling family and career I have managed to create two personal bodies of work. 'Hometown' was published in 2016 and now, after seven years of traveling the country, my second project 'American Bedroom' will be published by Kehrer Verlag.

THE PROJECT - In 2016 I began the American Bedroom project and after two years I won the Getty Editorial Grant that allowed me to travel and expand the depth of the project. I've had the good fortune of national and international press and a couple more grants that have kept me on the road to achieving photography in every state. The final result will be a landscape book with 90 color photographs presented in five sections – North East, South, Midwest, West, and South West. The images are paired with personal quotes from each subject and are full of subtle details that invite us to contemplate the idiosyncrasies of each enigmatic life".
To read more and how to order your copy, PLEASE CLICK HERE. 

A modern example of British documentary photography.

This link will take you to an Instagram post by British female documentary photographer, Sofia Conti. The fine examples of her photography show you how a different mode of practice if possible and that the work reaches outward in this case to and within the community locally and of course across the whole City of Glasgow. Click here to learn about, "Return, O Sliding Children"

The view from Sofia Conti.

Q1: What first inspired you to make documentary photographs?
In 2017 I decided to go back into education as a mature student. Initially from the various studies I was drawn to street photography as I love people watching and I seemed to have an eye for capturing key moments that are often missed. From there I began to develop this further by exploring documentary photography in the traditional sense of working with people and or places where I captured candid moments. Towards the end of my BA Professional Photography degree (Edinburgh College/Robert Gordon University) I moved towards social documentary in a collaborative manner as I wanted to produce work that raises awareness on issues that often go ignored.

Q2: What photographer(s) do you now consider most relevant, in regard to shaping your own vision?

Inspiration for me comes in many ways as I can be inspired by fellow practitioners, documentary film/series makers, artists and even literature. If I was to name just a few photographers I would have to say Anthony Luvera, Wendy Ewald, Margaret Mitchell, and Mark Neville as they continually consider how best to collaborate when respectfully representing communities. When it comes to urban landscape, I really enjoy the work of Stephen Shore and Todd Hido as they are able to make the mundane so intriguing. Recently with multi-media I am drawn to Jim Goldberg’s various projects e.g., ‘Raised by Wolves’ that creates so many layers when communicating the stories of the individuals he works with over a long period of time.
Then Martin Parr, Nik Roche, Rob Clayton, Raymond Depardon and Simon Murphy that inspire me by their unique styles of documenting the wonderful people and places of Britain.

Q3: Name a photographer whose work you would buy and hang on your wall at home?

I really enjoy Simon Murphy’s ‘Govanhill’ project with the black and white environmental portraits. When I look at his work it inspires me to create portraits like this which seem to have a deep connection between the person and the photographer. Ultimately the portraits produced are so impactful and that is something I strive for.

Q4: If you had the opportunity to work for a year on a project, where might you go?

I think I would continue to work in Glasgow where I have called home for the last seven years. I have discovered from the ongoing research within my MA studies that the work has longevity. Each project that has been produced has led to deeper bonds to the various people and places I have encountered. I am excited to see where the next phase will take me and the new participants.
Q5: What are your thoughts on the potential to use photography for social change and the ways in which to present photography to a wider audience?

Currently I am in the process of working on my Final Major Project, MA Photography degree (Falmouth Flexible) that centres around people in Greater Glasgow who have been indirectly/directly affected by crime wither they have past offenses, been falsely accused and or even been a victim. Along with ethically collaborating with willing participants I am incorporating multi-media such as environmental portraits, urban landscapes, family archive, audio, moving portrait and handwritten testimonies. Combining all of these elements is to show that these people and their stories are real. Hosting a community exhibition is to allow the community to be seen and heard in a safe and familiar environment to discuss the topic and the audiences’ personal experiences. Invitations to MP’s, local councillors, and charitable organisations linked to the subject in the hope to educate people with little or no knowledge on the topic so it can start conversations to change preconceived notions on crime.

Sofia, thank you very much.

Below you can see another collection of Sofia's work:

‘The Glasgow Effect’ is a term associated with the low life expectancy of Glasgow’s population. The East End in particular has been classed as the most deprived area in Scotland and over the years there have been many studies which suggest this is linked to high unemployment, poor health, addiction issues and crime.

The primary focus for the ongoing research project is to illustrate how the East End, Glaswegian urban landscape continues to be a place of desolation, that is neglected and overlooked resulting in the issues being swept under the carpet. Throughout this process I explored the concepts of New Topographics, place/non-place and liminal space by constructing a surreal environment from the reality of the situation, that conveys the alienation of the community to the rest of society. The rationale behind this is to demonstrate how certain parts of these locations continue to be placed in a state of limbo where they are unable to evolve.

The view from Raphaela Rosella.

Continuing with our female inspiration we cast the net wide in geographical terms and share this article by Kim Guthrie, who is also a talented photographer, writing here for the magazine Artist Profile. He explains very nicely Rosella's work, home town and approach to making her documentary photographs. Born in Australia she is included here for the richness of her images. Click on the links to take a look. Artist Profile is an Australian print and digital magazine. 

Female photographers.   Humanistic photo essay.   Documentary by women.