Wowee wow wow wow, these ladies I have lined up for you are some of the coolest and creative photographers around. From neon wonderland portraits to cinematic night shots of classic cars, every single one of these artists are individuals whom I look up to and admire. Each of their work is endlessly inspiring to me and it was such a treat getting to do a deep dive into them. I hope you enjoy their work as much as I do and find some new talent to brighten your artistic world.
In a sea of bold colors and dynamic poses, Maya captures the most stunning and visually enchanting portraits. When I first discovered her work, I couldn’t stop thinking “NO ONE poses people the way this girl does.” Using her knowledge of the body as an experienced dancer, she choreographs her models in such beautifully unique ways from backwards crab-walks to a face full of screaming intensity. You will be left in awe of the energy and personality she is able to bring out through her images.
A superb example of her movement forward poses, Maya captured this image while working on a project exploring the relationships between sisters. Shooting in her own living room (can you believe that!) Maya shot this with her Mamiya RZ67. The color choices of the green background contrasts perfectly with the classic styling of the white tanktop and faded jeans. I love the built up energy I can feel in their poses, linked together arm in arm while leaning forward with intention, as if they are a spring loaded with intention about to bounce into a dance move.
Come with me and fall down a technicolor rabbit hole in Ashlee Tough’s work. Equal parts madness of the Willy Wonka tunnel scene and the high glamour of Marilyn Monroe, Ashlee’s photos are like none other I’ve seen. Ashlee is a one-two punch, not only photographing but also styling all her own photoshoots. Often collaborating with her friend and makeup artist Amelia Hart on her stylized projects, I can hardly think of a better artistic pairing (Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat anyone?). The delicious excessiveness of her images is often a portrayal of her own self, wearing her personality on her photographic sleeve.
Shockingly electric, the image above had me swooning the minute I laid eyes on it. Ashlee frequently creates projects inspired by specific outfits and this one was no different. Dressed in an art piece of special sentimentality, Ashlee captured her model with her Mamiya RB67 and Kodak Portra 800 film. Hoping to capture a mix of pink marshmallow fairy, 90’s nostalgia, and a sprinkle of kawaii vibes, I just cannot look away from this image. I love the beautifully bold paring of vibrant pink and yellow along with the added textures of the iridescent flourishes with the sequins and rhinestone makeup. Pure perfection from start to finish.
Amanda Breese [Instagram]
Changing it up from the first three portrait photographers on this list, Amanda primarily photographs candid life moments and explorations, self described as a “hodge podge fromage.” And that is what makes her photos so damn impressive. They’re not posed or planned out; they are moments shot on the fly and still composed and framed perfectly. Whether it’s a dog hanging out a window or someone in the middle of grinding down a car part. Shooting primarily on a Hasselblad 500cm, Amanda frequently captures classic, vintage cars that she happens across on her photowalks. Drawn to them as a means of taking a step back in time, it is especially appropriate that she photographs these iconic automobiles on a period accurate camera.
The image above is one of her most stunning images in my humble opinion and I knew immediately upon laying eyes on it that it was the one I needed to feature. Shot with her right hand camera the Hasselblad loaded with Kodak Portra 400, Amanda captured this impromptu photo while out on a grocery run with her partner. Can you imagine! Like, no way could I create such a masterpiece while on a run to get eggs and milk. Making this photo even more meaningful, this photo was from the very first roll she ever developed at home. I’ve done home development before and I never got results like this on the first try. Amanda is one of those rare talents, the types that almost seem born with this innate ability. Looking at this photo, you could tell me it’s a still shot from a dramatic scene in a gangster movie and I would 100% believe you. She has completely nailed the position of the car with the wonderful leading lines of the overpasses and the mysterious headlines and the reflection on the pavement that make you wonder, “where are they going?”
Based out of Austin, Isabelle documents her journeys throughout the small towns and landscapes in the state of Texas and the greater Southwest area. With wide horizons as far as the eye can see and quaint little forgotten buildings, her love and passion for her area pours out of her images. In stark contrast to the harshly hot climate Texas is known for, Belle’s images are a melting pot of delicate colors and smooth lighting. The soft side of Texas she captures is one that I myself, a true midwestern girl, could really long to visit. I know it’s become ‘de rigueuer’ to hate on the popularity of Kodak Portra 400, but her photos will make you remember why the film stock is so beloved in the first place. She makes the film stock sing in every frame whether she’s shooting a classic Coca Cola sign or a dusty desert view.
Taken at El Cosmico in Marfa, Texas, Isabelle captured this photo while visiting the West Texas art hub in October 2020. During her visit the campground was quiet and peaceful, feeling like they had the whole place to themselves. Waking up to this view every morning, this image is a great reminder for her of this wonderful moment of peace within a year of turmoil and unpredictability. And that is absolutely what stands out for me too when looking at this photo. I love how calm and still it is with the glow of the morning sun shining through the window. A perfect moment in time for us all to enjoy.
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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