Women: New Portraits

Who is your most inspiring female role model? How many times have you given a quick bit of advice and not realised that you’ve inspired someone for the rest of their life?

In her most recent exhibition “Women: New Portraits”, Annie Leibovitz photographs women of outstanding achievement, reflecting the recent changes in the role of women today. Originally published in 1999 as “Women”, Leibovitz said “…it is such a big undertaking and a broad subject; it is like going out and photographing the ocean.”

This powerful exhibition displays photographs of women ranging from artists to politicians and does its job in raising your awareness of the female contribution to society. I mean, let’s face it, how many female figures do you remember learning about when you were sat in the classroom?

For me personally, the most relatable photograph was the unimaginable sisterhood portrayed in Leibovitz’s image of the Williams sisters. Whilst reading their story, the tremendous amount of love, support and determination between them became ever more apparent. Not only because of how successful  they both are in their careers, but also  because they have maintained such a strong sisterhood, even when Serena defeated Venus at Wimbledon in 2002, taking her title of the first black woman in tennis to be ranked number one in the world.


With women including Adele (singer), Malala Yousafzai (spokeswoman for the right of girls to an education) and Lupita Nyong’o (actress), this exhibition left me feeling enriched and motivated.

Leibovitz has discussed her difficulty in capturing a snap of Angela Merkel, the woman she most desires to photograph.  After missing the opportunity to meet Merkel when I lived in north Germany, seeing a photo of her as part of this exhibition would be incredible. In 2015 Merkel was named Time’s person of the year who called her “probably most important woman in the world today.”

“Women: New Portraits” is touring in 10 major cities worldwide throughout 2016 and I was lucky enough to catch it in Frankfurt. It’s casual pop-up style leaves an intimate and personal touch as Leibovitz allows for reflection on not only other women, but also your own potential.


3 thoughts on “Women: New Portraits

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  1. Really interesting. Were all the portraits of relatively famous and high profile success stories? My concern with things like this is who defines success?

    Who is the more successful – the Williams sisters or their parents who raised children to believe in their dreams and gave them the support to accomplish great things (in the Williams’ case their Dad was particularly influential, but let’s overlook that gender debate..!).

    What I’m getting at is that every day all over the world there are inspiring and successful people, who fly under the radar. You don’t have to be famous to be successful. You don’t have to be powerful. You just have to do something really well. Were there any everyday success stories or portraits?


    1. Hi Christian,

      Yes, the photos were of relatively famous and high profile success stories.

      Whilst I agree with you in that the Williams sister’s dad is successful, I don’t think this is really a case of ‘who is more sucessful’. Rather, it is just saying that the Williams sisters are successful.

      And yes, there are ‘normal’ people who are successful and inspire others on a daily basis all over the world, being famous or powerful is, as you know, not what defines success. However this exhibtion was simply highlighting successful and inspiring women who are in the public eye today, particularly as there is a clear lack of success stories of women in our history books.



      1. I might go when it’s in town – I see it’s in London in Jan/Feb – and make my mind up there. Maybe I’ve just got a chip on my shoulder when it comes to narrow definitions of success 😉

        Liked by 1 person

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