Badass women photographers you should be following

By Aanu Adeoye, for CNN

Updated 1439 GMT (2239 HKT) December 18, 2018
Maheder TadeseMaheder Tadese
1 of 19
Maheder Tadese is an Ethiopian photographer who explores life across her country with striking images and thoughtful captions. In this 2015 image by Tadese in Lalibela, Ethiopia, a female monk, Woletemariam is shown praying at the top of one of the churches in Lalibela. She became a monk several years ago after being diagnosed with an illness. Maheder Tadese
During a "Save Lake Tana" march in 2017 in Bahirdar, Ethiopia, Tadese photographs a volunteer removing water hyacinth, an aquatic invasive weed that has become a serious threat to both the lake and the biodiversity within it. Maheder Tadese
Fragments by Aida Muluneh who is an Ethiopian photographer working in photojournalism and commercial art projects. Muluneh's work has been featured in several exhibitions worldwide. Her photographs are striking and are usually characterized by intense use of bright colors. Aida Muluneh
The Morning Bride. From Aida Muluneh's the world is 9 project also exhibited at MoMA Being: New Photographers of 2018. Muluneh founded the Addis Foto Fest in 2010, an international photography festival held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Now in its fifth edition, the Addis Foto Fest features exhibitions, and film screenings. It features Muluneh's work and the work of many photographers across the continent.
Aida Muluneh
Rahima Gambo is an Abuja-based Nigerian photographer and artist that explores the environment, identity, history, memory, freedom, escape and healing and the spaces in between these things, through long term visual projects. In her project 'Education is Forbidden', Gambo highlights the harrowing tales of students going to school under the shadow of the Boko Haram crisis. In this photo from the project, students Rukkaya and Hadiza remember having to hide their school uniforms in plastic bags because they feared becoming a target of Boko Haram. Maiduguri, Nigeria, 2016. The photograph is seen alongside a connect-the-dots style illustration from the book, "Progressive Coloring Book three" by Christopher G. Bakare. It purports to teach 12 psychological skills to students. Published by Heineman Educational Books in Ibadan, Nigeria, 1982. Rahima Gambo
This image from Gambo's 'Education is Forbidden' series shows students outside class at Shehu Garbai Secondary School, a government school in Maiduguri. After prolonged closures, students have returned to schools that are in bad need of rehabilitation and suffer from a severe shortage of teachers. Maiduguri, Nigeria, 2016. Rahima Gambo
Chin We is a self taught photographic artist. Born in Manchester, England, she spent her formative years in Nsukka, Eastern Nigeria and adolescent years in London, England. She is fascinated by visual storytelling and portraiture. Her work focuses on portraiture and photography that empowers and celebrates the african diaspora/identity, culture, representation, heritage and tradition. In this portrait is a royal guard at the Emir of Zaria's palace in Kaduna State, Northern Nigeria. Chin We
Amina is photographed by Chin We at Ibiye, Kaduna State in Northern Nigeria. Chin We
Fati Abubakar is a Nigerian documentary photographer from Maiduguri, Borno. Her hometown has been ravaged by the terror group Boko Haram, but she documents her subjects on Instagram to show life continues even after deadly terror attacks that has killed and displaced thousands of people. This image shows, Kellu, a woman who fled her village to Maiduguri with her extended family.

Read more about Abubakar here.
Fati Abubakar
This Fati Abubakar portrait shows a child, Ibrahim, who lost contact with his parents due to the Boko Haram crisis. Read more on Abubakar's work with victims of Boko Haram in Maiduguri. Fati Abubakar
Sarah Waiswa is an Ugandan-born and Kenya-based documentary and portrait photographer with an interest in exploring identity on the African continent. With this portrait titled 'Boundaries', she came second in the Portrait Category at the 2015 Uganda Press Photo Awards.

Here, Waiswa captures siblings Velma Rossa and Papa Petit, founders of fashion blog site 2ManySiblings.
Courtesy Sarah Marie Waiswa
Joana Choumali is an award-winning artist and photographer from the Ivory Coast, who uses photography to explore her own identity. In her series 'Resilients' she captures women who are told they aren't "real Africans." She focused on the generation of women growing up in cities or out of their country of origin, picking up international influences along the way. Joana Choumali
Amari Anifah, a Yoruba woman, is photographed as part of Choumali's 'Resilients' series. Read more about 'Resilients.' Joana Choumali
Khadija M. Farah is a Nairobi-based photographer of Somali origin. Her Somali roots, she says, are part of her need for storytelling, as Somali history is very much an oral one. In this photograph, she celebrates 'non traditional mothers' like Halima Jama Samatar, 81, a resident of Eyl, Somalia. She takes care of 12 children (9 of whom their mothers died, and 3 lost their fathers). With no source of income and several mouths to feed, Samatar still finds ways to support her family. Khadija M. Farah
In Nugal, Somalia, Farah highlights Mahad Abdulaziz walking his father's camels from Biyo-Cade to their home several miles away. Biyo-Cade is a secluded village located on the bottom of a dried river valley. Khadija M. Farah
Ley Uwera is a photographer born in Goma in the Democratic Republic of Congo and based in East Africa. She explores issues and developments in the DRC as the country evolves and grows and changes. Ley Uwera
Uwera uses photography to document the social and cultural evolution of the eastern part of the continent with a focus on the DRC. Ley Uwera
Ngadi Smart is a Sierra Leonean Photographer based in Côte d'Ivoire, whose focus is on documenting cultures, subcultures and intimacy. Her photographic work has long been focused on how people self-identify and choose to present themselves in front of the lens. As of late, her interest has been documenting Black sensuality through an African lens and point of view. She aims to show as many representations of African people, and what it means to be African, as she can. In this photo, she shows Mado with Akan male symbols for her series titled "Amorphophallus aphyllus", (named after the phallic hermaphrodite African plant). This is a series on African Masculinity and Femininity, their various interchangeable facets and the intricate "masks" and layers we hold on to. Ngadi Smart
Smart, in a new series titled "Longing and Belonging" draws inspiration from the close ties that create a bond, gender similarities, and the human desire in sharing intimacy. Ngadi Smart