Historical Heroines

Heroines of the past who were active at some point between the late 18th century and the mid-20th century.

From Alice to Yva, explore the archive of Historical Heroines and learn about the rich lives and careers of pioneering women photographers. As we continue our mission, our online archives will continue grow.

Researched, written and curated by our volunteers. If you would like to contribute to this valuable resource, sign up to volunteer today.

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Timelines: Jananne Al-Ani

One of the leading women in photography, Jananne Al-Ani is an Iraqi-born photographer and filmmaker living in London. Her latest work, Timelines, is currently being exhibited at Towner Eastbourne, alongside Bringing to Light - an...

Tina Modotti

Tina Modotti

With her camera, Tina Modotti presents a distinctive vision of 1920s Mexico. As a Hollywood actress turned Comintern agent, Modotti used photography as an artistic and political outlet....

Trude Fleischmann

Trude Fleischmann (1895 – 1990) was an Austrian-born American photographer, one of a group of young, confident, Jewish, female photographers opening their own studios in Vienna after World War I....

Ursula Pariser

Born in Berlin, Ursula Pariser studied in London at the Reimann School of Art and Design before embarking on an illustrious career as educator and photographer.  Whilst head of photography at the Courtauld Institute of Art, she acted...

Vera Jackson

Vera Jackson

American photographer Vera Jackson (1912-1999) was noted for her evocative narrative content within her work....

Virginia Oldoïni

Virginia Oldoïni (1837-1899) was an Italian photographer who rose to the upper echelons of Parisian society and was unabashedly her own muse....

Self Portrait Vivian Maier, New York, 1954.© Estate of Vivian Maier, Courtesy of Maloof Collection and Howard Greenberg Gallery, NY.

Vivian Maier

Vivian Maier is one of the most prolific and distinctive American photographers of the mid to late twentieth century...

Ylla - Indian Elephants


Camilla Koffler was a pioneer of animal photography. She changed her name to Ylla after finding out that Camilla in Serbian means ‘camel’....


One of the premier fashion and portrait photographers of the 20s and 30s in Germany, ‘Yva’ produced elegant fashion portraits, photomontages and advertising work in Berlin from 1925 until the Nazi’s closed her studio. She was killed in...

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