Famous Photographers: the world’s top female photographers


To celebrate International Women’s Day, we’ve created a list of the most well-known and accomplished women who you might find on most people’s lists of famous photographers.

Famous Photographers: The World’s Top Female Photographers

Julia Margaret Cameron 1815 – 1879

Although Cameron is celebrated as one of the first famous photographers and a significant and influential artist of her time, she only obtained her first camera at the age of 48. This marked the beginning of her photographic career,  where her portraits of famous and attractive people hinted at the birth of a celebrity culture. This just goes to show that it is never too late to start a new trade or learn a new skill!

Dorothea Lange 1895 – 1965

An influential American documentary photographer and photojournalist, one of Lange’s most famous photographs (featured here) is ‘Migrant Mother’ taken in 1936. Lange documented the Depression-era for the Farm Security Administration, photography for which she is best known. She is credited for having humanised the consequences of the Great Depression and for influencing the development of documentary photography.

Lisette Model 1901-1983

Austrian-born American photographer Model taught in photography at the New School for Social Research in New York City. Her best known pupil was Diane Arbus, who studied under her in 1957.

Margaret Bourke White 1904 – 1971

An American documentary photographer, Bourke White is most famous for being the first foreign photographer to photograph the Soviet Industry. She was the first female war correspondent and the first female photographer to have been featured in Life magazine.

Diane Arbus 1923 – 1971

An American photographer, Arbus was most famous for her black and white square photos of ‘unusual people’ such as dwarfs, giants, transvestites, nudists, or circus performers. A notable part of her career was also spent in fashion photography. She took her own life in 1971. In the years after her death, her photography has been exhibited worldwide, and she was the first female photographer to have her work displayed at the prestigious Venice Biennale.

Mary Ellen Mark

An American photographer, Mark is best known for her photojournalism, portrait and advertising photography. She has been exhibited in numerous galleries and museums worldwide and has received three Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Awards, and three fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts. She also made a name for herself for shooting production stills on movie sets, including Apocalypse Now.

Lauren Greenfield

Lauren has been named by American Photo as one of the 25 most influential photographers working today (May/June 2003). She is most famous for photographing youth culture in her projects ‘Girl Culture’ and ‘Fast Forward’.

Annie Leibovitz

One of the most famous female photographers of today, Leibovitz is an American portrait photographer most famous for photographing celebrity portraits. As well as numerous other celebrity shoots throughout her life time, she is famous for doing a photo shoot with John Lennon for Rolling Stone.

Annie Griffiths

Griffiths is one of the first female photographers to have worked for National Geographic magazine. She has received awards from the National Press Photographers Association, the Associated Press, the National Organization of Women, and the White House News Photographers Association. Her photography has been exhibited worldwide.

Sally Mann

American photographer Mann is perhaps most famous for Immediate Family, published in 1992, which was a collection much celebrated by the New York Times. Time magazined named her ‘America’s Best Photographer’ in 2001.

Jill Greenberg

Greenberg is most famous for her controversial ‘End Times’ series depicting children showing emotional distress. However, her photographic career has also often focused on feminist issues in society.

Cindy Sherman

Sherman is an American photographer who is best known for her conceptual portraits. In her photographic career, she has questioned the role and representation of women in society and in the media. Her photographs include some of the most expensive photographs ever sold.