Five Female Film Photographers to Follow – January 2021

Five Female Film Photographers to Follow – January 2021

2000 1326 Danielle Wrobleski

It’s no secret that the film photography world is a bit male-dominated. As a woman in this field, it’s frustrating to see so few women being represented and recognized within this great community. I’ve always prided myself on following a large number of female film shooters, but having recently taken up the fight for representation more fervently, I’ve had my eyes opened to so many more talented women out there than I ever knew existed. 

Starting today and continuing every month here on CP, I’ll be sharing the work of five talented female film photographers whose photography I admire. Some may be women I’ve followed for quite some time, and others may be new discoveries. All are talented artists, whom I highly recommend you check out. Please click through to see their profiles or portfolios, and if you enjoy what these talented women are doing let them know about it in the comments here and on their own pages. 

Let’s get started.


Kelly-Ann Bobb 

From still lifes to landscapes to portraits, Kelly-Ann shoots a wide variety of subjects and formats, including 4×5, 120, and 35mm film. Working as a full time surgeon and as a photographer, Kelly-Ann is basically killing it for the rest of us trying. Comfortable shooting both commercial work and intimate family portraits, Kelly-Ann has an expert eye for lighting and composition. I find myself most drawn to her portraits.

One of my favorites is this exquisite portrait of her sister, taken with her Mamiya RB67. A part of her series titled Home Alone, this photo was taken during the COVID-19 quarantine. After living in isolation and having limited interactions with friends and family in the brief moments when they stopped by to drop off food and living necessities, Kelly-Ann captured a series of intimate, emotional portraits of the people in her life. The first time I laid my eyes on this photo it took my breath away. The gorgeous lighting, the perfectly placed shadow on the side of her face, the pin sharp focus on her eye, and the glorious shallow depth of field that renders the rest of her face out of focus left me in awe. 

More from Kelly-Ann here – Instagram


Gabi Roozee 

I’ve been following Gabi’s work for quite some time now, having been one of the first female film photographers I discovered when I started shooting film. Having an extra soft spot in my heart for photo hikes, her gorgeous landscapes of our country’s National Parks instantly caught my eye. Harkening back to the great Ansel Adams, Gabi’s photos give the feeling of iconic majesty. 

With a Yashica Mat 124G as her main shooter, Gabi is also known to fire off a Rollei 35 and an Intrepid 4×5 (among others) during her photo adventures. The image above was captured with her trusty Yashica during a hike with her husband through the Colorado Flatirons in September 2020. Through the falling and oftentimes melting snow, she was able to keep her camera dry enough to snap this beautiful composition, perfectly framing this snow-swept tree against the backdrop of the mountainside.

More from Gabi here – Instagram


Roxanna Angles

If you want dreamy and ethereal and a break from the stereotypical Portra 400 shots, Roxanna is your girl. Shooting everything from Lomochrome Purple to Berlin Kino, Dubble film to souped and expired films, Roxanna is anything but ordinary. I recently discovered her through another talented lady, Jess Hobbs, and haven’t been able to look away. 

In her most recent series, Roxanna has been photographing floating florals, submerging flowers in water and constructing them into various designs. The image above was captured on Kodak Vision 3 500T film with her beloved Canon AE-1. The frozen bubbles of the water, the purple hues paired with the cool tones of the Vision 3 500T film, and the way the water obscures the focus gives a perfectly whimsical feeling and makes me wonder if I’m looking into a fantasy world.

More from Roxanna here – Instagram


Alyssa Chiarello

Aly is probably one of the oldest connections I’ve made in the film community, having discovered her Instagram and YouTube shortly after I started shooting film myself. As an admitted camera hoarder, I was immediately drawn to Aly’s focus on shooting and reviewing interesting and unique vintage cameras. Shooting everything from an Argus Argoflex to a Hasselblad 500cm, Aly has quite the impressive roster of cameras in her collection. She details even more of her film adventures on her blog including her ongoing adventures with black-and-white film developing and regular photographer interviews.

Beyond her entertaining camera reviews, however, Aly is also just a wonderfully gifted photographer. The photo above is a gorgeous fall photo she captured of some of her favorite trees that turn a vibrant yellow in autumn. They only last for a small window before they quickly lose all their leaves. Aly was able to luckily capture this snapshot from her car with her Canon TX on Portra 800 before this one quickly faded into darker days.

More from Aly here – Instagram, YouTube, Blog


Denise Grays

I was fortunate enough to recently stumble into Denise’s work, and I was immediately taken by the variety of style and experimentation in her photography. Similar to Roxanna, if you’re looking to break out of the “old cars and gas stations” stereotype of the film world, you have to check out Denise’s photography. Impressive double exposures, self red-scaled film, mystical portraits, and the elusive Aerochrome all await you in her work.

Maybe it’s partly because of jealousy that I’ll never get to shoot Aerochrome, I find myself especially in love with the shot above. The framing of the barn and the colors of the film really sing out in this capture. Taken during quarantine while exploring rural Kansas with two of her close friends, Denise photographed this scene with her Mamiya ZE-2. Having held on to this roll of Aerochrome for quite some time, she built up the courage to finally shoot this roll and I don’t think she could have picked a better subject. 

More from Denise here – Instagram


I hope you’ve enjoyed my first curated list of interesting female photographers. This will be a recurring feature here on the site, and I’ll be back in a couple of weeks in another recurring feature in which I’ll focus the spotlight on just one of the many female shooters who I’ve come to know and respect.

If there’s a female photographer whose work you’d like to share with us and the rest of the readers, please do so in the comments below. We’d love to see and promote.

You can also follow The Film Sorority, a new Instagram account focused on promoting female perspectives in photography, which I’ve co-created with Analog Talk host Chris Bartolucci, and another lovely and talented shooter named Onome.

Follow Casual Photophile on Facebook and Instagram

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Danielle Wrobleski

Frequently buried in too many cameras, Danielle is the poster child for Gear Acquisition Syndrome. Accidentally tripping into film photography several years ago, it now consumes her life with over 40 cameras in her collection. Located in the Midwest, when she’s not messing around with cameras you can find her hiking, cuddling cats, or doing watercolor illustrations.

All stories by:Danielle Wrobleski
15 comments
  • Dear Danielle,
    Thank you for the posting. ‘Bout time! I’m looking forward to more articles. I’m impressed with your selection, but Kelly Ann’s portrait of her sister is so beautiful and sensitive.
    Thanks to the crew at C/P for publishing and supporting this endeavor.
    To all who read this: please follow CDC guidelines, support everyone who are helping us (docs, medics, frontline workers, etc.) Get the vax when you can – if not for you, for other humans. We want to continue to see creative work, not read obits!

  • Very nice. Good start. Welcome.

  • Why is it important that they are female photographers? Is there a special quality of being a female that men dont have? Is there any kind of theme that bound theses photographers, besides their assumed marginalization? I find these theme way to overused and it widens the myth of undervalued women, which by surprise, leads to value the single female photographer for being a women and doing stuff, not matter how good it is. Its 2021 and as photographers we should get rid of easy cultural narratives.

    • I mean, I understand what you’re saying on the surface of it – we should celebrate excellent photos, no matter who makes them. That makes sense intellectually, sure. I think your unwritten assertion, however, is that the photos shared here aren’t “good photos.” Or that the only way you’ll be impressed by a photograph made by a woman is if it’s far and away better than any photograph you’ve ever seen that was taken by a man. If those are your arguments, and it seems like they are, I can’t agree.

      I think the five photos shared here are not only aesthetically pleasing, but in most cases they are thought-provoking and unusual, too. They are above average, at the very least. And then when we click through to each photographer’s work (which is the whole point of this series, really) it becomes even clearer that these five individuals are unique, interesting, and technically excellent photo makers. They also happen to be women. This last point matters for numerous reasons, but in the context of our discussion I think it matters MOST because, traditionally, women have had a much harder time in photography (and all fields) than have men over the past few hundred years.

      I should add one more point and approach your argument from the other direction. You say we should celebrate female-made photos only if they are amazing photos. Well, I don’t agree. The idea that we should only care about photographs made by women if those photographs are AMAZING is total bullshit, because that same barrier isn’t applied to male-made photos anywhere. Do you know how many absolutely trash photos I see from dudes all over Instagram, in magazines, and in galleries? There are literally thousands of really bad pictures out there making men famous (a gas-station on Cinestill? Pulitzer, bro! A skinny, white model in a copy-cat pose? 11,000 followers, coming right up!). The opposite is also true here – I see countless amazing pictures being unpublished and widely ignored, and the only obvious reason is because they happened to be made by women.

      The conversation goes on…

      • James, I would give your response to this trolling post an infinite number of upvotes. Photography on the whole tends to be a real “sausage-fest” and the same has been true of many professions, hobbies, and passions over the years. Those include aviation, scientific research, military service, and politics just to name several. Gender representation in those areas have been and is changing however, which I think is a good thing. Moving toward equitable participation, treatment, appreciation, and recognition of the efforts of all photographers must include acknowledging the fact that women were long underrepresented.

        When someone whines and complains about featuring the work of women photographers it smacks of sour grapes. The assertion that these women are being recognized for being women, and not because their work is worthy or praise, makes me think the OP feels somehow cheated. It’s almost as though the OP feels automatically entitled to the same recognition as the 5 female photographers in the article. In other words, it’s the photography equivalent of pushing the “All Lives Matter” response when confronted with the realities of what the BLM movement is trying to accomplish. It’s a coded response and we all know what it really means.

  • Oli, really?

    If there has been an opportunity throughout the years/decades for women (and people of color) with a vision to be equally represented as much as white males, this would be a moot point. I’m speaking of the lack of exposure in print media, and gallery representation of talented and visionary women.

    I want to see more work from the viewpoint of people of color and from women. I don’t walk in their shoes, I don’t know their world through their eyes. Being made aware of a different perspective leads to understanding, empathy and common bonds that define us as humans.

    Take a few minutes and look up the Guerrilla Girls to see another perspective.

    Now, before you think I’m just another emasculated male projecting imaginary self-guilt, my wife & I are the proud parents of a highly talented woman artist and we’ve seen first hand male bias in the arts. “Assumed marginalization” is real, not the figment of the imagination of a hysterical female.

    I’m just tired of this style of BS you & others parrot ad nasuem.

    • Well spoken and agree with these points. As to social media, whom you follow depends to a large degree on the platform. I only use you tube and have been familiar with Aly’s VCA for some time along with Jess Hobbs, T. Hopper, Madison Beach and Karin Majoka. They all have excellent content and deserve a wider audience. Popularity (followers, likes, views, etc) though is a distorted metric depending more on publishing reviews of the latest gear, exotic places visited, spectacular b-roll, drone shots and other video content. An excellent analog site with emphasis on composition, exposure, processing, etc (eg Ben Horne) and 48k followers does not compete with the big digital dogs of photography (eg Art of Photography, Matt Granger) at nearly 500k. I just hope the small analog-centered sites persist.

  • Thank you so much for sharing these names with us! I would also love to hear Oli’s suggestions for analogue photographers whose work we should check out. Given their comment (above), I imagine the percentage of photographers whose work they are well aquatinted with, must be around the 50:50 mark in terms of gender, so they won’t have any trouble giving us an excellently balanced list. I’m always happy to expand my knowledge of others in this field.

  • Great Ladies, Great work
    BRAVO !
    We knew that women have a great eyes for composition and arts, certainly a deeper feeling.
    Thanks for these great images.

  • Ohhh this is so beautifull 💕 Thanks for the inspiration.

  • Featuring women who are photographers is welcome. However …

    Being a woman does not make one a better/worse photographer. The problem is being taken seriously, The bar is higher – women have to prove that they are far better than men. This is true in other domains. And sometimes they are considered not as good as their partners [e.g. Jackson Pollock/ Lee Krasner]

    There are other female photographers who faced even more criticism/dismissal than contemporary photographers: Tina Midotti, Berenice Abbot, Margaret Bourke-White, Diane Arbus, Dorothea Lange, Hila Becher and Vivian Maeir, as well as contemporary photographers – Cindy Sherman, Utta Barth, Catherine Opie, Annie Leibovitz, Nan Goldin, Candida Höfer.

    Photographers who not white also face similar prejudice – Gordon Parks, James Van Der Zee.

    Gay photographers face a similar stigma [see the Magic Hour Podcast for interviews].

    ¿And if you’re a woman, non-white and a lesbian?

    ¿Is Instagram [Facebook] the best place to look for photographs? ¿Consider that that supports/enables a toxic empire

    • Please take a minute to look up Georgette Louise Mayer, AKA Dickey Chapelle. She was killed while on assignment with the US Marines in Viet Nam in 1965.
      A remarkable life of a pioneering reporter & photographer.

  • Thanks a lot for this amazing selection and beautiful piece of writing! I follow quite a number of female film photographers (not because I just want to support “sisters”, as critics might be quick to point out, but because algorithms, like all things, are not born objective, color blind, and mathematically neutral. They are socially constructed and you have to force~bend them quite a bit to open up the view and actually get more representative accounts of the (digital) world)… and I think I only knew one out of those talented image makers from the list. Thanks for opening the depth of field! Very much looking forward to this monthly column!

  • Only one of five have a blog. All others are on Instagramm. I am a fan of blogs.

    Could you blog the five best film bloggers?

    Best regards

    Bernhard

  • Avatar
    Stephen McCullough January 26, 2021 at 1:25 pm

    Hi Danielle,

    Thank you for this post. I value being introduced to talented photographers, so from that simple perspective this is a welcome article.

    I draw enjoyment and inspiration from this type of post. At times a part of me is sometimes intimidated too — even the photography that doesn’t draw me sometimes reveals talent well beyond my reach. I also enjoy the simple fact that people who have had the courage to step into the world of being artists are gaining exposure.

    Beyond all that, I am especially delighted that photographers who are women, or any other ‘category’ that has previously been overlooked or worse, is gaining exposure. Art often leads and drives change. For talent to be subdued or suppressed actively or by past norms is sad, and ugly. Changing this will take time. Thank you for being part of making this happen, and thank you to this site for leadership.

    Keep going,
    Stephen

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Danielle Wrobleski

Frequently buried in too many cameras, Danielle is the poster child for Gear Acquisition Syndrome. Accidentally tripping into film photography several years ago, it now consumes her life with over 40 cameras in her collection. Located in the Midwest, when she’s not messing around with cameras you can find her hiking, cuddling cats, or doing watercolor illustrations.

All stories by:Danielle Wrobleski