20 female photographers from around the world show off the power of the feminine gaze

Sam Potenciano
Sam Potenciano

Empowered by a new wave of feminism, more and more young women are stepping behind the lens and redefining the landscape of contemporary photography through their work. Explore the power of the female gaze through the distinct styles of these 20 rising female photographers from around the world.

01. Daria Kobayashi Ritch

Photos by Daria Kobayashi Ritch

Photographer Daria Kobayashi Ritch may have gone from shooting cool kids on the streets of L.A. to booking gigs with in-demand celebs like Cole Sprouse, Solange Knowles and Jared Leto, but despite her success, her photos still retain the sense of looseness and intimacy that informed her earlier work. Each of her portraits suggest a real, genuine interaction with her subjects, providing the viewer with a deeper sense of connection to her photos.

02. Monika Mogi

Photos by Monika Mogi

Monika Mogi’s colorfully-tinted, exuberant fashion photography perfectly captures the youthful spirit of contemporary life in Tokyo. Often starring a roster of Japanese cool girl models like sisters Kiko and Ashley Mizuhara, her neon and light-filled style has been featured everywhere from i-D to Vogue Japan.   

03. Katie McCurdy

Photos by Katie McCurdy

Increasingly sought out by publications like L’Officiel, Interview, Kinfolk, and Vogue, Katie McCurdy’s straightforward, pared-down approach to photography is at once simple yet full of emotional depth. Refreshing in its earnestness, her eye for her female subjects in particular always conveys a feeling of quiet strength and vulnerability, proving that great portraits speak for themselves.

04. Harley Weir

Photos by Harley Weir

Credited with developing an oft-imitated style thanks to her high-profile, controversial Calvin Klein underwear campaign in 2016, artist Harley Weir continues to push boundaries and surprise regardless of her client. For Harry Style’s debut album, the musician tapped Weir to lens him in darkly surreal sets: swimming in a cloudy pink sea and stranded on the hood of a submerged car. Constantly mysterious and evocative, Weir continues to be one of the more subversive and challenging talents in her industry.

05. Lenne Chai

Photos by Lenne Chai

Singapore-based Lenne Chai is making her mark in South East Asia thanks to her ethereal, unapologetically feminine gaze which has been published everywhere from Nylon Japan to Teen Vogue. Even when turning her eye towards male subjects or still life matter, there exists a softness to her conceptual work that is inspiring in its self-assuredness.

06. Gia Coppola

Photos by Gia Coppola

While she may not yet be a household name like her famous uncle, Francis Ford Coppola, Gia Coppola has already made a name for herself by photographing numerous fashion editorials and covers for glossies like Nylon, Wonderland and Paper Magazine. Shooting mostly on film, her raw, naturalistic style is reminiscent of cousin Sofia Coppola’s otherworldly, dream-like aesthetic.

07. Adrienne Raquel

Photos by Adrienne Raquel

It’s tough enough relying on Instagram as a photographer, but Art Director Adrienne Raquel has somehow managed to use her social media account to not only develop her unique voice, but also to allow herself to flourish creatively. Drenched in a vibrant yet never oversaturated sea of color, her restraint in composition is an exquisitely artistic exercise in control that elevates both her still life and self-portrait work.

08. Petra Collins

Photos by Petra Collins

As a contributor to indie publication Rookie during her teenage years, photographer Petra Collins developed the hazy, nostalgia-tinged aesthetic that has become her signature style. Today, she is one of the most buzzed-about photographers of her generation, landing high-profile fashion gigs with Gucci and collaborating on creative projects with celebrities like Selena Gomez and Kim Kardashian West. Her work often explores the theme of adolescence, combining traditional symbols of girlhood with more provocative, sexual undertones to hypnotizing effect.

09. Shaira Luna

Photos by Shaira Luna

A scroll through Manila-based Shaira Luna’s feed is akin to taking a trip back in time. It’s clear through the retro style, grain, and color grading of her photos that the photographer draws much of her influence from days gone by. She even goes as far as sourcing all of the clothing for her test shoots from vintage stores for an added layer of old school realism.

10. Olivia Bee

Photos by Olivia Bee

With an earlier start than most, Olivia Bee’s prolifically young career kicked off at 14 when Converse discovered her work on Flickr and promptly booked her for a job. It was during those teen years spent shooting intimate portraits of friends and family that she developed her dreamy, romantic style, which she now regularly channels into commissioned work for New York Magazine, Billboard, and The Hollywood Reporter.

11. Chuck Grant

Photos by Chuck Grant

Splitting her time between work in New York and Los Angeles, photographer Chuck Grant has gained a major online following for her photographs, which she shoots primarily on 120mm film. She often captures soft focus images of fashion and music personalities, including her famous sister, singer Lana Del Rey.

12. Zoey Grossman

Photos by Zoey Grossman

Zoey Grossman’s work can frequently be spotted in the pages of fashion mags like Numero and Vogue, and even splashed across campaigns for big name brands like Victoria’s Secret. Focusing on an empowered, feminine perspective of sensuality, her subjects always seem to convey a sense of ease and refinement under her gaze.

13. Cailin Hill Araki

Photos by Cailin Hill Araki

After marrying Japanese photographer, Dai Araki, former fashion model Cailin Hill eventually decided to switch gears by stepping behind the camera. Her style of film photography is beautifully raw, focusing on her subjects as they explore the vibrant, magical streets of Tokyo.

14. Arvida Byström

Photos by Arvida Bystrom

Swedish artist Arvida Byström’s unconventional take on photography explores the intersection between sexuality, vanity, and art in the digital age. Her subject matter often includes references to the internet and technology and are uniquely distilled through a confrontational, fine art filter.

15. Mayan Toledano

Photos by Mayan Toledano

Israeli-born and New York-based photographer Mayan Toledano turns her contemporary eye towards photographing an endless stream of real life characters—from everyday teenagers in love to Israel’s female soldiers. Her compelling, intimate portraits and editorials constantly make appearances in i-D, Nylon, and Vogue.

16. Carlotta Kohl

Photos by Carlotta Kohl

During her downtime as a model, Carlotta Kohl somehow finds the time to also shoot commissioned work for brands like Miu Miu and Free People as well as for publications like CR Fashion Book and L’Officiel. Her film photos showcase strength in vulnerability, choosing to highlight quietly subdued moments over anything too flashy.

17. Ashley Armitage

Photos by Ashley Armitage

With her sights firmly set on drawing attention to the issue of inclusivity, Ashley Armitage has made it her mission to shine a light on real people rather than models. Her feed is littered with beautifully shot images that seldom make their way into the mainstream: body hair, folds of skin, acne. Details that would otherwise be labeled as imperfections are instead treated with the same appreciative eye usually reserved for conventional beauty.  

18. Brianne Wills

Photos by Brianne Wills
Photos by Brianne Willis

Playfully feminine and imaginative, Brianne Wills always injects a sense of fun to her delicate style of photography. A go-to talent for emerging fashion labels and indie publications, the NYC native is also the mastermind behind Girls and Their Cats, a popular blog dedicated to portraits of the city’s female creatives and their beloved feline companions.

19. Tammy Volpe

Photos by Tammy Volpe

Much like the neon signage of her city at night, photographer Tammy Volpe’s work exists in a world awash in fluorescent color. Brilliant at casting local models that challenge the stereotype of Asian subservience and restraint, her shots capture a sense of rebelliousness and attitude that reflects the modern-day Japanese woman at her most authentic.

20. Molly Matalon

Photos by Molly Matalon

More interested in the aesthetics of mundane, everyday life, the muted tone of Molly Matalon’s work is thought-provoking in its sheer simplicity. Having shot for the likes of Lucky Peach, Fader, and The New York Times, she highlights the curiously odd beauty that exists in ordinary subject matter.