Cowboy Girls - Karoliina Paatos Copyright Karoliina Paatos
Cowboy Girls - Karoliina Paatos Copyright Karoliina Paatos

Featuring: Karen Miranda-Rivadeneira, Hilary Swift, Arlene Mejorado, Cara Romero, Karoliina Paatos

The American West has always held a special place in the American imagination: the unexplored, the vast, the beautiful. Yet many conventional depictions of the West in art and visual culture revolve around an outmoded masculinity and represent land itself as a male-dominated space.

Women are often secondary characters relegated to two-dimensional tropes such as the damsel in distress in popular culture and documentary photography dating back to the early days of the medium. In reality, women play a pivotal role in how we understand the American west and its landscape.

Many Women Photograph members based in the west have spent time photographing and contemplating how our natural environment shapes us. These photojournalists engage with land not only as a backdrop for stories about its inhabitants, but also as a site of conflict, a source of scientific discovery, a dwelling place, and respite.

This collection of images demonstrates the variety of ways that contemporary women photographers represent the American west, expanding and challenging the existing understanding of this space and how its narrative has been crafted. Their work shows the importance of women as champions and storytellers in this space where they are often excluded or forced into the background.


  • Women Photograph

    Women Photograph

    Women Photograph is a nonprofit that launched in 2017 to elevate the voices of women and nonbinary visual journalists. The private database includes more than 1,400 independent documentary photographers based in 125+ countries and is available privately to any commissioning editor or organization. Women Photograph also operates an annual series of project grants, a year-long mentorship program, an annual skills-building workshop, and collects data on hiring and publishing statistics in the visual media industry. Our mission is to shift the makeup of the photojournalism community and ensure that our industry’s chief storytellers are as diverse as the communities they hope to represent.

Women & The American West

 archive : Photoville LA

Featuring: Various Artists

Curated by: Sara Ickow Daniella Zalcman Mallory Benedict

Presented by: Women Photograph
  • Women Photograph


View Location Details Annenberg Space for Photography

Century Park,
2000 Avenue of the Stars Los Angeles,
CA 90067

Location open 24 hours

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