Women Pioneering Creative Feminism through Photography #WomensHistoryMonth

By Chantalia Fevrier-President

They say a picture is worth a thousand words and these Women make pieces that don't only speak to you, but move you. To quote Donna Ferrato, photography is about all the 5 senses-to smell, to feel, to hear, to taste, to touch, to truly see the image. For this weeks #SICRealLife we are continuing to celebrate the achievements made by women in the spirit of #WomensHistoryMonthy. Here are some women in photography who make pieces that challenge the patriarchy.

Tomoko Sawada | 澤田 知子

Born in Kobe Japan, Tomoko Sawada is a Contemporary Feminist Photographer and Performance Artist. She explores traditional and abstract methods to express ideas of identity, culture, conformity and individualism. Some of her work like Omaia and Masquerade explores the concept of perception and how women are perceived pertaining to what they wear, their hair, weight, or height.


"Living as a woman in Japan I have undergone a number of metamorphoses since childhood. Whenever I change my hairstyle, clothes or make-up; my way of talking, tone of voice, or the way I move the muscles in my face, the reaction I get from people around me changes too."

- Tomoko Sawada for Granta.com

Donna Ferrato

TW:Domestic Violence

Donna Ferrato, Muckrack

Donna Ferrato from Waltham, Massachusetts is a critically acclaimed photogjounalist. She gained much of her popularity from her documentation of domestic abuse within homes of New York. Ferrato has published multiple books such as Living With the Enemy, which went into exhibitions and was the topic of lectures across the globe. It sparked a national discussion on sexual violence and women’s rights. Another notable work was her "I am Unbeatable," campaign which was launched in 2014 to raise awareness about domestic abuse.

What is so captivating about her work is her ability to capture raw emotion so well in such candid situations. This video by RedFitz captures her journey as an artist and activist against domestic abuse focusing on her "I am Unbeatable," campaign. TW again concerning the images and discussion on domestic abuse presented in the video.

Abigale Heyman

Abigale Heyman was the first woman to be invited, by Charles Harbutt, into the photographer's collective Magnum Photos. Heyman was an activist and photojournalist from Connecticut. One of her notable works, "Growing up Female," published in 1974, was a "landmark" book of photography. The book portrayed black-and-white images of women and young girls, including a photograph of Heyman herself having an abortion. The book sold over 35,000 copies during the 1970s.

“Black Girl-White Doll,” 1972.

"To grow up female is not just to develop in a woman’s body over time but also to emerge into a greater, less embarrassed, less hidden, and more present understanding of what being a woman means, as complicated and contradictory as that meaning might be."

- The NewYorker, "Abigail Heyman’s Groundbreaking Images of Women’s Lives"

Shirin Neshat

Shirin Neshat, Ocula

Shirin Neshat was born in Iran and left to to study art in Los Angeles in 1974, just prior to the Iran Islamic Revolution. At that time, Neshat began to photograph herself wearing the chador, orveil. Many of her pieces capture her in this cultural head wear. Shirin Neshat is a photographer that captures issues within her native country. Once returning to Iran in 1990 after finishing her studies, she was stunned by the cultural shifts as a result from the Iranian Revolution and the establishment of a conservative Islamic republic. Much of her work examines the physical, emotional, and cultural implications of veiled women in Iran.

Rapture, 1999

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