What do Sophie Calle, Rineke Dijkstra, Susan Meiselas, and Hannah Starkey all have in common? They’re all on the list of 100 contemporary women photographers picked out by the UK’s Royal Photographic Society, after an open call for nominations. Over 1300 photographers were recommended to the organisation by the general public, which was slimmed down by a judging panel headed up by photographer Rut Blees Luxemburg.
The final list includes well-known names but also less recognised image-makers such as Native American artist Wendy Red Star, Moscow-based photographer Oksana Yushko, and Paola Paredes from Ecuador. Each Heroine will be awarded a Margaret Harper medal, named after the first female president of The Royal Photographic Society, and the first female professor of photography in the UK. An exhibition and accompanying publication will follow, all part of a bid to highlight women working in what is still a male-dominated industry.
“Although it was a truly challenging exercise having to consider 1300 women, being a part of the jury for Hundred Heroines was ultimately an incredibly stimulating and inspirational process,” says Luxemburg. “This final list reflects both the global expanse of female practice and the intergenerational input into contemporary photography. It reflects the wide range of methodologies, practices and diverse approaches of women working with the photographic medium. This is a moment of change and this list of heroines pays heed to it.”
“It all came together very organically,” says Cheryl Newman, appropriately enough for a project about small-scale, low-impact farming. Initially signed up to work on We Feed The World for 12 months, she’s ended up spending three years on the project, commissioning nearly 50 world-class photographers to shoot agriculture around the globe, including renowned image-makers such as Stefan Ruiz, Susan Meiselas, and Graciela Iturbide.
The aim of the project is simple – to shift the public perception of small-scale farming, which is often considered synonymous with subsistence farming but which in fact produces around 70% of the world’s food, according to a report by the United Nations.
“Photography is the language of our age and it has the ability to shift consciousness and effect change on a scale beyond any other form of communication,” says Newman, who was photography director of the Telegraph Magazine for more than 15 years.
The L.A. Gun Club in downtown Los Angeles is the home of a legal pastime that allows people to shoot live ammunition at target posters with guns such as a Colt .45 or an AK47. Each participant can select from over a hundred target posters, ranging from minimalist human forms to cartoon bad guys. Hilton has documented the remains of these unique ’shot’ target posters created, through a process of destruction, by a cross section of her community – from a brain surgeon to a couple on a ‘date night’. Hilton, a photographer and filmmaker from London, has built a career exploring the culture of the western parts of the United States The series, about to launch as an exhibition at London’s Eleven Gallery, is also a limited edition, self-published photobook featuring brief interviews with the shooters. Hilton therefore shows us a snapshot of the attitudes towards guns, gun use and gun ownership in America. A 34-year-old biology school teacher, firing his own Sig Sauer 226 9mm pistol, told her: “I like to come here for ‘stress relief’. It is not unusual for …