For no apparent reason beyond pure curiosity the Telegraph asked eight major contemporary female photographers to pick their favorite portrait photos of women, and the resulting list is quite fascinating, ranging from an arresting 1866 image by Julia Margaret Cameron to Dorothea Lange’s famous photograph of a migrant worker during the Dust Bowl (above).
“For me the impact a photograph can have is shown here,” Mary McCartney writes explaining her choice of Lange’s iconic portrait. “We see three children on the brink of starvation clinging to their mother. She has the quality of extraordinary strength. How can she look so dignified, you think, when she barely has enough food to feed her family?”
Rineke Dijkstra opts for a similarly powerful image that emerged from a natural disaster, Paul Graham’s “New Orleans” (2004), though her explanation rests primarily on its formal qualities. “Paul Graham’s photographs are definitely not about the decisive moment,” Dijkstra writes. “In fact, they seem to contradict Cartier-Bresson’s dictum in almost every aspect. He often shows his work in pairs or series (this is one of six), small observations that subtly seem to tone down the photographer’s decisive power.”
See the full list, including Dana Lixenberg and Kourtney Roy’s favorite portraits, here.
— Benjamin Sutton
(Image: Detail from Dorothea Lange’s “Migrant Mother. Nipomo, California,” 1936. Via Museum of Modern Art.)