Boy, oh boy, am I excited for the list I have curated for you this month! I feel this excitement every time, I admit, but I’m pretty sure this is my favorite batch of female film shooters yet.
From gothic self-portraits to snowy city shots, I find each and every one of these artists endlessly inspiring. I could look at their work all day, every day, and never get bored. In fact, I do look at their work every day. I hope you find them as fascinating as I do, and hopefully find some new artists to follow in the process.
Marielle Ponce [Instagram]
Of all the amazing female film shooters I know, I have one of the most special connections with Marielle. With our Instagram usernames so similar, we affectionately call each other “sisters,” and I couldn’t ask for a better film sibling in this community. An absolute sweetheart and a brilliant photographer no less, Marielle is always a pleasure to speak with about photography and life in general. Armed with a plethora of cameras, she captures her life around Toronto through an ever changing sea of film stocks and formats, from 6×6 to 35mm to expired to instant to black-and-white. I absolutely adore her way of capturing the beauty around her and am always excited to see what she’s going to post next.
One of my most favorites of her is this vibrant beach scene she captured with her Yashica D TLR on Kodak Ektar 100 film. Taken late in the day, just before blue hour, Marielle knew she had to capture these picturesque chairs against the rose colored sky while out on photowalk with friends. A completely candid moment, I can’t think of a more perfectly composed scene. I love the coloring of the chairs with the red odd one out at the end which perfectly blends into the vibrant sunset. To me there is no better example of Marielle’s expert eye for scenery and composition. Please click through and follow her on Instagram.
Kyla Elliott [Instagram]
Kyla specializes in capturing feminine portraiture within the breathtaking sights of a little known place you may have heard of, Sedona, AZ. When I first discovered Kyla’s work, I was instantly enamored with how REAL her photos are. These aren’t super seductive, sexpot women pouting into the camera for the male gaze. These are REAL women, celebrating their femininity and natural beauty in the safe spaces that Kyla creates for them.
Favoring natural elements in her shoots (natural light, landscapes, and light clothing) her portraits almost evoke the feeling of a classical painting, soft and regal at the same time. Gazing into her work, I feel like I’ve been transported to a magical land surrounded by goddesses.
Nothing demonstrates her style better than this glorious capture above. While out on a fun photo adventure with some childhood friends, Kyla shot this scene with Lomo 800 film. Hoping to capture a stoic and almost angelic presence often found in paintings, Kyla purposely posed the two women on each side of the center model as a way of communicating women uplighting and supporting other women. The celestial crown, the golden tones, and the backdrop of smooth, almost baptismal waters give this photo such a stately, heavenly atmosphere.
Jessica Dunston [Instagram, Website]
Where do I begin with Jessica? If you aren’t familiar with her, I’ll try to sum her up in five simple words: A GOD AMONGST MERE MORTALS. Jess captures stunningly beautiful and fierce portraits, with a special focus on highlighting brown and black beauty. Her use of colors and lighting to capture her subjects in the most divine way possible leaves me in awe. No dull colors here. You’ll be lost in a sea of bold and vibrant colors from emerald greens to bold oranges to shimmering golds, all expertly used to make her models pop and really appear as the royalty they are.
When I first saw this shot of hers, I’m pretty certain I gasped if not screamed. It straight up feels like a painting done by one of the great masters. Photographing the rapper Pat Junior for an upcoming project of his, Jess shot this scene on Portra 400 with her Mamiya RB67. I love every single detail of this portrait, from the halo of light on his face, the hand giving warmth and support on his shoulder, to his gaze to the heavens above. Everything about this is sheer perfection to me, and I don’t think it gets any better than this.
Alyssa – LeicaVirgin [Instagram]
Alyssa is the QUEEN of nailing subdued lighting. In contrast to my shooting style which favors bright sunny midday blue skies, Alyssa captures many of her photos in scenes I tend to be too scared to shoot. An array of blue hour, night time, and dimly lit interiors, she ALWAYS nails the exposure no matter the lighting condition. Having moved to Pittsburgh recently from the midwest Alyssa loves to explore her new city, discovering hidden views, and creative ways to capture Pittsburgh’s unique skyline. Her work constantly inspires me to step out of my comfort zone and to not be scared to shoot in lighting that I’m less familiar with.
The photo above is one of Alyssa’s personal favorites of all the shots she has captured of the Pittsburgh skyline. Shooting with her Pentax K1000 and classic Kodak Portra 400, she shot this blue hour scene as she was leaving work in her neighborhood of Greenfield. There was only about 20 minutes of daylight left for the day and she wanted to document the first snowfall of the winter. I love how she has composed this scene perfectly lining up the fence in the foreground, the neighborhood houses in the middle, and the sunsetting skyline in the distance. The peaceful, serene atmosphere lends the feeling of a neighborhood falling under the hush and wonder of the year’s first snow.
Ashley Humason [Instagram, Website]
As someone who’s recently been bitten by the self-portrait bug, Ashley’s work is a pillar of what I aspire to. Endlessly creative, her photos are equal parts dreamy, surreal, and supernatural all mixed into one glowing orb of beauty. Time and time again I find myself scrolling through her feed for inspiration, half wondering if these are still shots from some sort of gothic movie. Often evoking deep, visceral feelings her subjects bewitch me with their power. Frequently captured in historic and abandoned places coupled with the beauty of film, her photos feel as if they were taken lifetimes ago, in a different world.
A beautiful example of her exquisite self portraits, Ashley captured this image of herself with her Mamiya RB67 on Kodak Portra 400. While experimenting with double exposures, she was hoping to capture a portrait of herself that featured the duality of light and shadow. The imagery of the moth and flowers is meant to represent the connection between these two between the two exposures. Having attempted double exposure self portraits myself before, I know how difficult it is to properly line up each exposure, and I have to say Ashley has completely nailed it. I’m in love with the way she has framed herself, almost appearing as if she is embracing her body in multiple different ways.
If there’s a female photographer whose work you’d like to share with me 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.
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