6 Female Photographers discuss Inspiring Inclusion for International Women’s Day 2024

Each year, the world celebrates International Women’s Day with a theme to raise awareness for gender parity. This year it’s about inspiring inclusion, and inclusion goes across gender, race, and identity. Inspiring inclusion also means celebrating women’s achievements — especially in male-dominated industries. One such industry is photography, which hits home to everyone, now that smartphones make excellent cameras (everyone’s a photographer!). For some women, photography isn’t just a passion, but a livelihood; and there are challenges we face in getting jobs and being recognised for our work.

Above: Self-portrait (@ADELE__CHAN) with the Leica M10-P (my first LEICA M camera), and taken with the LEICA M11.

I picked up portrait photography 10 years ago as a dare from my publishers, and I’ve embraced it as a profession ever since — even more so than writing and being an Editor. I sling my camera wherever I go, and many times I forego carrying a bag just so I only have one item slung around me (which is the camera), and also to keep my hands truly free to quickly take photos when the opportunities arise. This International Women’s Day, I wanted to hear from other female photographers on how they embrace their craft, and  to simply just celebrate them and what they do.

NICOLE QUEK (@nicolequek)

Above: NICOLE with her CANON, shot on LEICA M11.

NYLON: How did you get started in photography?
Nicole: My dad used to work in a production company and I used to drop by a lot when I was a kid. This exposed me to the industry and I was always amazed by the cameras and equipment on set. When I turned 12, my uncle gave me his small digital camera and back then it was the start of the K-wave. Korean pop stars started to frequent Singapore and I bought my first K-pop concert ticket and started taking photos of them. I realise it brought a lot of happiness to me and my friends or fans when they see the shots. That’s when I realised my passion for photography.

Genre and style of photography?
My genre of photography started with music, paparazzi style and candids, and it has evolved to lifestyle and portraits.

Have you faced any challenges as a female photographer? 
I started out really young at around 16 years old. I co-founded HallyuSG with my friend — it’s an online media publication for everything Korean. As we got press invites to events or press conferences, I noticed that there was discrimination towards me as I was just a teen with a camera, and I felt looked down upon or taken advantage of (for example, not being paid for a job done). But aside from that, there are some people (including males) who’ve helped me along the way by encouraging and guiding me through my photography journey.


Follow Nicole on Instagram @nicolequek.

AMRITA CHANDRADAS (@amritachandradas)

Above: AMRITA with her HASSELBLAD, shot on LEICA M11.

NYLON: How did you get started in photography?
Amrita: My passion for photography was ignited by my father, a seasoned infographic artist at The Straits Times. His unwavering commitment to capturing moments taught me to see the world through a unique perspective. During an internship at a production firm, I was mesmerised by a captivating black and white image of a mother and son in Istanbul, Turkey, captured by the firm’s owner. This pivotal moment propelled me to embrace photography wholeheartedly at the age of 17.

Genre and style of photography?
My photography style is a blend of documentary and emotive elements, capturing the essence of the moment with depth and authenticity.

Have you faced any challenges as a female photographer? 
Despite initial challenges and being underestimated as a female photographer, I persevered and asserted my rightful place in the industry. Over time, the narrative shifted, and I embraced the unique opportunities that being a woman in photography affords. It’s a double-edged sword at times, but it has also opened doors to exclusive realms inaccessible to male counterparts.


Follow Amrita on Instagram @AMRITACHANDRADAS, and explore her website at WWW.AMRITACHANDRADAS.COM.

NATALIE WONG (@nataliewongphotography)

Above: NATALIE with her CANON, shot on LEICA M11.

NYLON: How did you get started in photography?
Natalie: It was my childhood dream at the age of 10 when I was at the zoo. I used up the whole roll of film within an animal show and that’s when I knew I really love taking photos and wanted to be a photographer.

Genre and style of photography?
My style is creative lifestyle and my genre is weddings, fashion, portraits.

Have you faced any challenges as a female photographer?
Being a female photographer has helped me in the weddings’ scene as it’s a male-dominated industry. Building trust and making clients feel comfortable is crucial, and some clients may indeed prefer having a female photographer, especially during intimate moments like weddings. My potential for assistance with clothing and hair also highlights the personal and supportive role a photographer can play during such significant events.


Follow Natalie on Instagram @NATALIEWONGPHOTOGRAPHY and visit her website at WWW.NATALIEWONGPHOTOGRAPHY.COM.

GLIN GWEE (@glingwee)

Above: GLIN with her SONY, shot on LEICA M11.

NYLON: How did you get started in photography?
Glin: I was already naturally drawn to visuals and images since young, but it was when I started being exposed to the craft in school that my passion for capturing images blossomed. The initial exposure ignited a passion in me, and I knew I wanted to pursue a career in this field, that was when I embarked on my journey by assisting an established photographer to hone my craft. I did a lot of test shoots and collaborations to develop my portfolio, and from there, everything else fell into place.

Genre and style of photography?
My work primarily involves brand campaigns that span across different genres such as commercial, lifestyle and fashion, and I excel most when working with humans. I would say my style is centred around capturing the interplay of my subjects and their surroundings. I like to understand the brands or subjects before I shoot, and that enables me to communicate and connect better with the audience through my images.

Have you faced any challenges as a female photographer?
As a masc-presenting gay woman in the industry, I’ve found a delicate balance between embracing my femininity and womanhood, while also adopting traits traditionally associated with masculinity, which, sadly, often lends more authority and respect in the workplace. In an ideal world, this wouldn’t be necessary, and women should be respected and recognised in the industry regardless of their presentation.

I am also aware that I have lost out on some opportunities because of my gender, but I am also grateful for the clients who have supported me and provided me with many opportunities to grow and succeed in the industry. These clients, both women and men, understand the importance of diversifying the photography field and have chosen to work with me based on my skills and talent, rather than my gender.

I am grateful for their trust and for seeing my work as what it is, rather than associating it with my gender.

While my identity as a queer woman may influence my perspective and experiences, it is not the sole factor that defines my work as a photographer. Ultimately, it’s my creative vision, skills, dedication, and perspectives on the world and my subjects, that define me as a photographer.


Follow Glin on instagram @GLINGWEE and check out her Website at WWW.GLINGWEE.INFO.

AMANDA WONG (@beautifuladieu)

Above: AMANDA with her NIKON, shot on LEICA M11.

NYLON: How did you get started in photography?
Amanda: When I was a kid, I used to love taking photos on my disposable film camera, never thinking much of it, just enjoying the act of capturing what I see. As I grew up, I somehow found myself in the possession of point-and-shoot cameras, DSLRs, toy and vintage cameras, and somehow by a stroke of luck, that blossomed into a professional journey for the last 15 years.

Genre and style of photography?
I shoot environmental fashion portraiture using mostly natural light. My style is very soft, feminine, and dreamy, and I love taking backlight portraits during golden hours. I also like to capture portraits in a way that makes the viewer think that it couldn’t have been shot in Singapore — but it actually is, to the surprise of many! Sometimes I take self-portraits too.

Have you faced any challenges as a female photographer?
I almost only shoot females, and my aesthetic eye has been really helpful in my work. Perhaps it’s because I’m a female who can relate to similar standards of beauty, I’m able to intuitively know the angles that would bring out my models’ natural features and beauty. I’m also not technically trained, so I tend to focus on framing my models in a more flattering way, and that results in both pretty pictures and happy models (so I’ve been told, haha)!


Follow Amanda on Instagram @BEAUTIFULADIEU.