Turning the lens on women photographers

Today, I am continuing the theme of highlighting women storytellers. After last week’s post, about the Women Photograph network, I wanted to revisit women photographers, this time from the other side of the lens.

I asked female photojournalists to send me pictures of themselves working in the field, along with a quote, either from them or from someone they respect in the field of photography. Here are some of their photos and quotes:

Daniella Zalcman 

Photo by Abigail Higgins
Photo by Abigail Higgins

We are in a privileged and sometimes happy position. We see a great deal of the world. Our obligation is to pass it on to others.

– Margaret Bourke-White

Scout Tufankjian

Photo by Linda Davidson/Washington Post
Photo by Linda Davidson/Washington Post

The secret of photojournalism is to like people, and to let them know that you like them.”

-Robert Capa

Tanya Habjouqa

“I am a photographer. Compulsively, irreverently so. There is nothing that makes me feel more alive or connected than when I am immersed in a long term photo project…that  feeling you get when you read a perfect short story that explains the beautiful awfulness of the human condition, like anything from  Raymond Carver…. It allows a direct infusion into humanity, it’s raw.   I have worn many hats, from acting in theatre, anthropology, journalism writing, humanitarian worker, but could never fully commit to one. The only medium that allows an intellectual, physical, and spiritual fluidity that draws from multiple platforms, a constant evolving rubix cube of possibilities, is photography. Compulsion. I love it like my own child.”

-Tanya Habjouqa

Tara Todras-Whitehill

Photo by Kevin Frayer/Associated Press
Photo by Kevin Frayer/Associated Press

While there is perhaps a province in which the photograph can tell us nothing more than what we see with our own eyes, there is another in which it proves to us how little our eyes permit us to see.

-Dorothea Lange

Alex Kay Potter

Photo by Cengiz Yar
Photo by Cengiz Yar

Photography for me is a bridge – between countries, cultures, and generations. I come from a rural town in middle America, so photography is the best language I can use to connect people I care about around the world, to break down preconceived notions, and to open doors for more questions to be answered.

-Alex Kay Potter

Amanda Mustard

Photo by Keith Lane
Photo by Keith Lane

It’s a tough industry to break into and it can be tempting to do the things that seem expected of you. It took me a long time to realize that the most important thing you can do as a photographer is to turn inward and focus on the stories that mean the most to you and that YOU can tell best. There is no magical solution to ‘making it’ – trust yourself and carve your own path.

-Amanda Mustard

Elie Gardner

photo by Rebekah Kates Lemke
photo by Rebekah Kates Lemke

Photography is about so much more than the decisive moment when the shutter of your camera is open. It’s about your relationship with the people in the scene and how you enter, move through and exit it. A lot of this is communicated nonverbally. When you exercise respect and dignity, chances are that the people in the photograph will relax into themselves and a truer moment will come. Just be patient.

-Elie Gardner

Monique Jaques

It’s no accident that a photographer becomes a photographer any more than the lion tamer becomes a lion tamer.

– Dorothea Lange

Maya Levin

Photo by Fadi Arouri
Photo by Fadi Arouri

When you start off, you have to deal with the problems of failure. You need to be thick skinned, to learn that not every project will survive. A freelance life, a life in the arts, is sometimes like putting messages in bottles, on a desert island, and hoping that someone will find one of your bottles and open it and read it, and put something in a bottle that will wash its way back to you: appreciation, or a commission, or money, or love. And you have to accept that you may put out a hundred things for every bottle that winds up coming back.

-Neil Gaimain

Sima Diab

Before I’m a photographer I’m a storyteller. Photography has been a way for me to tell the stories I want to tell, in a way that allows me to say so many things without fumbling to find the words. I believe in the honesty of a photograph and all that honesty can hold, in a very idealistic naive sort of way. If something I can produce somewhere can move something in someone anywhere, then that’s why I’m in it. Not for anything else, or for anyone else, but for that one person who also thinks it’s important to see.

-Sima Diab

Loulou D’Aki

I realize that the reason I do this is connected to a curiosity and that the camera is a way for me to feed this curiosity. A constant reminder to self when it comes to photography is to keep believing in what you do, even when things are not working out straight away. Persistence is a key.

-Loulou D’Aki

Heidi Levine

Photo by Maya Levin
Photo by Maya Levin

I am not here today to tell you my  difficulties covering conflicts, the real courage belongs to those who are subjected against their will to conflicts. I do my job simply to report people’s courage with my camera and my heart.

-Anja Niedringhaus

By Tara Todras-Whitehill

Tara worked as a staff photographer for the Associated Press for four years in the Middle East, covering the uprisings, revolutions and numerous elections in the Arab world. Her photography has been featured in the New York Times, National Geographic and Washington Post, among many others. She also works on personal projects focused on women's issues. Her passion is trying to portray strong women changing their lives and the world around them.

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