9 Women Photographers On The Best Picture They've Ever Taken

Jazmin Kopotsha

A selection of incredibly talented female photographers were tasked with choosing a piece of their professional work that makes them feel empowered. Between shots of a beaming bride and her sister, a Kenyan Maasai elder, the alluring Scottish landscape and Sir Ian McKellen (no, really), the catalogue is as varied as it is striking. But it's the stories behind these pictures that'll really move you. A drone pilot-cum-filmmaker speaks about being one of very few women with her specific set of skills; a sports photographer mentions the hope that an image of the England netball team brings her; and a music photographer celebrates doing whatever feels good at a particular time.

To nudge the wheels of change within an industry that – surprise, surprise – is considered to be dominated by men, The Photography Show 2019 has launched the Women Who Photo campaign to shine a light on female talent in a vast and multifaceted business. According to The Photography Show, even though there's a high percentage of female photography students on courses across the UK, the number using their skills at career-level drops massively. There simply aren't enough women shouting about the brilliant work they're doing in the field, creating images that we could (and should!) be seeing every day. The hope of this campaign is that it'll encourage more women photographers to do so.

Ahead you'll find a selection of images chosen by some of the country's best female photographers that'll be exhibited at the show. Click through to see the shot from their catalogue that has made each woman feel really bloody great about their work, their abilities and the opportunities that are out there for all aspiring women.

Women Who Photo launches at The Photography Show at The NEC, Birmingham, 16th-19th March 2019

"Carte riposte" by drone pilot and filmmaker, Carys Kaiser

"This image is from an [Instagram] project that I started called #agirlfromabove, which is me, a female drone pilot, taking pictures of women. As a female drone pilot I am one of a small account of women who fly drones professionally across the world. One was picked up and exhibited in London and then on to a gallery in Amsterdam. One won third prize in a drone photography competition. It is an ongoing creative project, started as a personal challenge to take more photos with the drone as opposed to filming and video as that is my background."

"Farer; Scotland in a DBS " by automotive and lifestyle photographer, Amy Shore

"I love this shot. Not only for the image itself, which I think is pretty powerful in its own right, but the build-up to capturing it too. We were sat on the hillside for over an hour waiting. No signal, not entirely sure when the train would show up. The road was busy, people were beginning to park their cars in shot to watch the train come over, our driver had had his foot hovering over the accelerator for almost as long as we had been waiting. Then suddenly, train! Everything came together just perfectly at the right time for both my stills and the videographer's drone. We cheered and headed to the pub after that!"

Photographed by Amy Shore

Photographer and SheClicks founder, Angela Nicholson

"The image is one of my favourites and it rejects the mantra that highlights should always be protected. There are lots of rules mentioned in photography and it can stifle creativity. I’m fascinated by this tree and I wanted to capture its details along with the feeling of the light streaming in from the low sun beyond the woodland."

Photographed by Angela Nicolson

England Netball team by event and sports photographer, Cat Goryn

"It is difficult to explain in a couple of sentences how this photograph makes me feel and my own personal journey behind the image. I first saw and photographed England Netball at the Commonwealth Games in Australia. I really feel that their impact will help progress change within sports and sports media coverage. These women are athletes, a team, role models, inspiring and real. The photo gives me hope."

Photographed by Cat Goryn

River Bailff George Woodward by commercial and commissioned photographer, Emma Drabble

"This is from a series called River Voices that has now been turned into a book. I have also been commissioned to work on a further two sections of the river [Wye] taking the portraits of people who are the last of their kind. This project, by the natural diversity of the jobs on the river, features working men. It’s a potentially intimidating job to take on, because most of the men featured are used to conversing with other working men.

I am proud of the portrait 'River Bailff George Woodward'. Not because it was featured in the National Geographic 'Your Shot' and the book is on its third print run, but mostly because it shows that we as women can take on challenging subjects and not just be classified as fashion, newborn and baby photographers. We can meet our subjects and fellow photographers, male or female, on a level playing field."

Photographed by Emma Drabble

Sir Ian McKellen as Mr Holmes by film photographer Agatha A Nitecka

"I took this image on set of Mr. Holmes in London on 35mm film. The week after, it was published on the cover of The Times [as the] first look for the Sherlock Holmes film. I love this image – I was given a minute to take the photograph (which is often the case on a busy film set) and it was great to see it everywhere very shortly afterwards. Ian McKellen is one of my favourite actors to work with on set. Later on when we had more time during the shoot, he’d always make sure there was time for me to take stills; that hardly ever happens these days. He really enjoyed being in front of analogue cameras."

Photographed by Agatha A. Nitecka

Nemama by freelance photographer and filmmaker, Holly-Marie Cato

"Where most people in the western world do not own land or property, Nemama is a land owner, cattle farmer and businesswoman. Together with the women in her community, this Maasai elder makes beaded jewellery that's sold across the world and provides funds for educating the girls and boys in their tribe. This is Kenya and she embodies what it means to be an empowered woman."

Photographed by Holly Marie Cato

Dancer Renee Stewart by music photographer Jennifer McCord

"We shot this image a few months earlier when we were both in a rut. With no structured concept or ideas we just shot what felt good and right at that time. Shooting something with no restraints or rules felt powerful in itself but to me this image perfectly embodies empowerment not only because it led me back to my creative strength, but because it also shows a woman completely owning her craft, expressing herself with her whole body and being."

Photographed by Jennifer McCord

Ellie and her sister, by wedding photographer and founder of SNAP photography festival, Laura Babb

"This isn't my greatest work technically by any stretch but it's a picture that really impacted on me and it makes me feel empowered. Being a woman means being judged by societal and patriarchal standards about what your body should look like. Ellie, the bride, and her sister are a wonderful reminder that you can choose autonomy over your own body, even if wider society encourages people to feel shame for non-conformity."

Photographed by Laura Babb

Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?

Does This Mean We Are Getting Double The Call Me By Your Name?

How Jennifer Aniston Got Me Through My Breakup

How Lillian Li Went From Harry Potter Fan Fiction To Writing Her First Book