Photographer Captures Intimate Portraits of Trailblazing Women All on an iPhone

Photographer Luisa Dörr chronicles the incredible accomplishments of trailblazing women for Time magazine’s aptly-titled project, Firsts. Showcasing those who “broke the glass ceiling,” Dörr captures powerful ladies like Aretha Franklin, Barbara Walters, Selena Gomez, and Issa Rae in straightforward portrait photography. Here, the focus isn't on flashy visuals or elaborate costumes. Instead, Dörr presents these women simply, just as they are, and lets their incredible accomplishments speak for themselves. Accompanying each picture is an interview that details their journey to the top.

Dörr's direct approach to her image making was echoed in her equipment choices. All of these pictures—including 12 of the Firsts covers—are shot on an iPhone. While not totally strange, the unconventional choice did cause some apprehension from her subjects. “At first, it was difficult,” Dörr told the Instagram blog. “The subjects couldn’t understand that the same phone they carry in their pocket is able to make a professional photograph. But the phone allowed me to move fast—it was just me and the subjects.” That feeling of intimacy is palpable in her pictures; we, too, feel as if we’re alone with Hillary Clinton and Oprah.

Dörr has been a full-time freelance photographer since 2015 and the opportunity to meet these women, relatively early in her own career, was an amazing experience. “More than just women, I saw amazing human beings and professionals,” Dörr recalls. “All of them went through a lot of struggles. This positive fighting energy is what has inspired me the most.”

Firsts features the stories of 46 women and has been compiled into a book. It will be available through Amazon on October 10, 2017.

Luisa Dörr has chronicled powerful women in Time magazine's series Firsts.

Barbara Walters is the first woman to co-anchor a network evening news program. #sheisthefirst @time

A post shared by Luisa Dörr (@luisadorr) on

Oprah Winfrey, Selena Gomez, and Hilary Clinton are just some of her famous subjects who “broke the glass ceiling.”

Eileen Collins is the first woman to command a space shuttle. #sheisthefirst @time

A post shared by Luisa Dörr (@luisadorr) on

The straightforward portrait photography shows these women simply, without any elaborating lighting or costumes. Their accomplishments speak for themselves.

Hillary Clinton is the first woman to win a major party’s nomination for President. #sheisthefirst @time

A post shared by Luisa Dörr (@luisadorr) on

Luisa Dörr: Website | Instagram | Facebook
h/t: [Instagram Blog]

All images via Luisa Dörr.

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Sara Barnes

Sara Barnes is a Staff Editor at My Modern Met, Manager of My Modern Met Store, and co-host of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. As an illustrator and writer living in Seattle, she chronicles illustration, embroidery, and beyond through her blog Brown Paper Bag and Instagram @brwnpaperbag. She wrote a book about embroidery artist Sarah K. Benning titled 'Embroidered Life' that was published by Chronicle Books in 2019. Sara is a graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art. She earned her BFA in Illustration in 2008 and MFA in Illustration Practice in 2013.
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