US curated by Savannah Spirit exclusively for Artsy

“Us” honors female cisgender, queer, trans and non binary identifying photographers by connecting the lineage of established female photographers to the emerging photographers of now.

While you’re here, we thought you might like to spend some time with ONE incredible image. Here’s a selection of a single piece from each artist. If you like their work, you can check out more on Artsy.

Lissa Rivera, Votive Portrait (Prayer Closet), 2018

“Soon we began taking photos like addicts, setting up several shoots every weekend… By presenting my partner within the lineage of great beauties and populating the media with our images, we are reclaiming our voice in what is attractive and beautiful.” Read more about the beautiful, surreal and confessional work of Lissa Rivera.

Nell Pittman, Sisters in the Reeds, 2019

Nell Pittman is best known for her nude self-portraits (often with her mother and sister) in untouched scenes throughout North America, capturing the innocence of land before human disturbance. 

Laurence Philomene, Sitting With Solitude, 2019

“Flora and I in our rooms after lunar new year, learning to sit with loneliness.” Laurence’s work acts as a love letter to their community. Through long-form collaborative and autobiographical projects, they aim to celebrate trans existence, and to study identity as a space in constant flux. IG @laurencephilomene

Monica Orozco, Cisgender, 2016

“I create images that are dark, quirky and sexy, with a touch of vintage.”“When I first posted, this was the caption. Word of the Day. “Cisgender” Cisgender is a term for people whose gender identity matches the sex that they were assigned at birth. For example, someone who identifies as a woman and was assigned female at birth is a cisgender woman. The term cisgender is the opposite of the word transgender.” IG @demonicaphoto

Marilyn Minter, Siren, 2014

“Until recently freckles were always photoshopped out. I like to shoot photos of things that exist but we are not used to seeing.”

Marilyn Minter is a contemporary American artist whose personal brand of Photorealist painting examines contemporary notions of beauty. IG @marilynminter

Shoog McDaniel, Untitled, 2019

“Shoog McDaniel is a fat, queer, Floridian freak who has been creating art in the swamps since early age. They are inspired by Florida flora and fauna and the beautiful fatties they photograph. They love color and patterns and creating alternative worlds to escape the one they’re in.” IG @shooglet

Felli Maynard, Pre-Angelo, Zulu XY in the Studio, 2018

Felicita “Felli” Maynard is a first generation Afrolatinx genderqueer interdisciplinary artist, student and educator. “I work across traditional analog and alternative photography processes to create artwork to further understand myself and my ancestors. I focus on retelling stories that challenge misrepresented histories of people from the African Diaspora, the beauty of the Black body and investigating the complex identities that compromise gender and sexuality.” IG @photofelli

Marne Lucas, Cunt Goddess, 2019. 

“If feminine energy is consciously tended to, while it may feel differently post-menopause, it can’t be destroyed. My call to goddesses is embrace the feminine and take back our cunts!” Read full interview in The Demented Goddess.

A pin up of primordial Cunt Goddess on a primordial beach. ”Cunt Goddess’ series was shot on Maui Hawaii as part of the larger “Cunning Stunts” series. IG @marnelucas

Evyenia Karapolous, Portrait of Kyotocat / A Hot Summer in Berlin, 2018

“Kyoto (@kyotocat) is a fellow fine art model and a dear friend to me. We first met on the day we literally climbed to the top of the Austrian alps together to pose nude on glacial structures for Korbinian Vogt (@korbinianvogt) and have been friends since. This image was taken during a day we shot one another in our photographer friend Frodo’s (@frodo47) bathroom when we reconnected a year later when both of our touring took us to Berlin simultaneously. Kyoto has an infectiously vivacious appreciation for life and adventure and I have always been inspired by her self confidence and dedication to her own natural aesthetic in an industry that tears women down for their naturalness rather than uplifts them. This photo commemorates that hot day when two “modelographers” finally created art together and cut out the “middle man” of the male gaze.” IG @evyeniakarapolous

Amy Gelb, Trust, 2102-2016

“I am folded into the past, and I travel to what once was and what will be.” Gelb’s first monograph, As Is: Women Exposed, is a response to the spoken and unspoken messages women receive about their bodies. She recently created a photo documentary with VIDA, a non-profit legal assistance organization in Florida that advocates for the rights of immigrant survivors of violent crimes, domestic violence, sexual assault and sex trafficking.IG @amyabelsgelb

Lola Flash, Esther C Jackson, 2013

Lola Flash is a committed educator and artist using photography to challenge stereotypes and offer ‘new ways of seeing’. She was an active participant in ACT UP during the time of the AIDS epidemic in New York City (she was was notably featured in the 1989 “Kissing Doesn’t Kill” poster). Her lifelong project “[sur]passing” are portraits of African Americans using skin pigmentation as a color signifier for the black experience. 

Esther Cooper Jackson is an African-American civil rights activist, former social worker and, along with Shirley Graham Du Bois, W. E. B. Du Bois, Edward Strong, and Louis E. Burnham, was one of the founding editors of the magazine Freedomways, a theoretical, political and literary journal published from 1961 to 1985.

IG @flash9

Mary EllenMark, Contortionist with Her Puppy Sweety, Great Raj Kamal Circus, Upleta, India, 1989

Mary Ellen Mark (March 20, 1940 – May 25, 2015) was an American photographer known for her photojournalism, documentary photography, portraiture, and advertising photography.

Imogen Cunningham, Frida Kahlo, painter, ca. 1931

Imogen Cunningham (April 12, 1883 – June 23, 1976) was an American photographer known for her botanical photography, nudes, and industrial landscapes. Cunningham was a member of the California-based Group f/64, known for its dedication to the sharp-focus rendition of simple subjects.

Imogen Cunningham, Frida Kahlo, painter, ca. 1931

Imogen Cunningham (April 12, 1883 – June 23, 1976) was an American photographer known for her botanical photography, nudes, and industrial landscapes. Cunningham was a member of the California-based Group f/64, known for its dedication to the sharp-focus rendition of simple subjects.

Gertrude Käsebier, Zitkala Sa, Sioux Indian and activist, ca. 1898

Gertrude Käsebier (May 18, 1852 – October 12, 1934) was a leading member of the pioneering photographic movement known as Pictorialism. She was known for her images of motherhood, and her promotion of photography as a career for women.

Finally, Savannah Spirit! You can read her statement here.


MARCH 10 – APRIL 30, 2020

Imogen Cunningham 
Lola Flash 
Amy Gelb 
Evyenia Karapolous 
Gertrude Käsebier 
Marne Lucas 
Mary Ellen Mark 
Shoog McDaniel 
Marilyn Minter 
Felli Maynard  
Ruth Orkin 
Monica Orozco 
Laurence Philomene 
Nell Pittman 
Lissa Rivera 
Savannah Spirit 

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