Women of Vision: An intimate view of the world through the eyes of 11 female photographers

BY Victoria Fleischer  December 4, 2013 at 2:00 PM EDT

Stephanie Sinclair photographed Nujood Ali, who stunned the world in 2008 by obtaining a divorce at age ten in Yemen, striking a blow against forced marriage.

Amy Toensing is a born storyteller. The photojournalist has traveled the world to find her subjects: from a cave dwelling tribe in Papua New Guinea to sunbathers on the Jersey shore. Her photos are revealing and honest, a testament to her skill. “Being intimate with your subjects … bearing witness to their lives is everything for telling a powerful story,” she told the NewsHour.

Toensing is one of 11 women whose work is on display at the National Geographic Society’s “Women of Vision: National Geographic Photographers on Assignment.” The exhibit showcases the work of female artists spanning generations as part of the Society’s 125th anniversary celebration.

The subjects these women tackle are wide-ranging. From Prostitutes on a street in Mumbai to four sisters sleeping on a Sunday afternoon in Florida or a young leopard leaping through the grass, there seems to be nothing that these women shy away from.

Maggie Steber photographed her mother Madje Steber who suffered severe memory loss during her final years at a Florida facility.

Lynsey Addario, whose work is also on display in the exhibit, is in awe of her fellow female photographers. “They’re incredible. There’s a range of women — some of the first women who ever shot for National Geographic, to the youngest photographer shooting now for National Geographic.”

Addario, who often works in Muslim countries, said that being a woman gives her access to parts of society that are closed to men. “I do think that women offer a different perspective,” she said. “I’m able to go into homes, family homes where there are women, and I can photograph them. That’s something that we would not get if there were not women journalists on the front line or in these countries.”

View a slideshow of some of the photographs from the 11 photographers in the “Women of Vision” exhibit:

“Women of Vision: National Geographic Photographers on Assignment” will be on display at the National Geographic Society in Washington D.C. until March 9, 2014.

Watch chief arts correspondent Jeffrey Brown’s broadcast report on the “Women of Vision” exhibit