In celebration of International Women’s Day 2022, three female photographers with Canadian roots have joined forces for a special photo series shot on the iPhone 13 Pro. Powered by the smart phone’s advanced camera systems, each photographer presents their own  series on being a woman, and how it has shaped their work. From capturing everyday musings to intimate moments, here are the words, vision and self-reflection of three female creatives in a seemingly male-dominated industry.


Sarain Fox (@sarainfox)

Can you give us a brief introduction to you and work?

Sarain Fox: Ahnii / Hello

Many people know me by Sarain Fox; however, my given name is Wabunanogokwe. It translates to Morning Star Woman. My people call the eastern star the morning star, otherwise known as Venus.

Traditionally your name is your life’s work. It’s given to you when you are first born by an elder or namer in the community. The belief is that we come into this world carrying our name, and it is dreamed here for us, so you will always know who we are and where we belong. Your name always comes with a story. My name carries the teachings of reconciliation. Reconciling the day and night, light and dark. It’s about gratitude for new life and that first light that comes with the promise of a new day.

Residential schools and forced assimilation took our naming ceremonies away. They threatened our languages, ceremonies, and the stories that connect us to our ancestors, our original instructions.

My great auntie Mary (and my grandfathers and uncles) attended the Spanish Residential School. She did not receive her name as a child. Nor did my mother, her niece. She didn’t get to grow up in the arms of her mother or hear the songs and teachings of her grandmother.

Anishinaabe women have always held leadership roles in our communities. The woman has always carried and cared for life itself and our communities. It is our inherent responsibility to pass on not only our DNA but our traditional ways of knowing and being.

As motherhood consumes me more and more, I actively look at what was lost, found and reclaimed in my family.

I have become obsessed with my own history. I am terrified that I cannot move fast enough to hear my elders’ stories and remember the stories that weave together a legacy. Documentation has become my lifeline. I am taking pictures to suspend moments of joy and humanity and capturing videos — this is vital for passing on my culture to my daughter.

Tell us about your photo series and what inspired it.

SF: This is a photo series of my auntie throughout the fall of 2021 and early 2022.

My auntie has spent her entire life reclaiming her narrative. Every time she allows me to witness her in her authenticity, I feel honoured. I also feel power and gratitude because she survived systems and policies that tried to eliminate her very existence. And yet, she is still here. We, Anishinaabe women, are still here.

My auntie is in her golden age now, and with each visit, I know we get closer to her journey home, to that spirit place. Together, we create tangible memories that will exist here for her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. That’s why I create content: to remember, to be held up by the beauty that is our truth. It is an incredible responsibility and honour to be trusted with a person’s story, to be allowed to bear witness. I am always humbled when people allow me to capture their vulnerability. I will always search for ways to connect to ourselves to own humanity.

All photos were shot on iPhone 13 Pro Max, in Portrait mode. Even the printed photos in the album! I like Portrait mode or shooting in Photo mode with the Vivid preset!

I am typically not for preset filters because I have a film background. However, I really love the simplicity and beauty of Portrait mode. It’s so crisp and brilliant.

When do you feel the most empowered?

SF: There is so much pain caused by what we don’t know about one another. So much trauma passed down by misinformation and history told on only one side. Perhaps if we can see each other for who we truly are, we can start to heal and come together as communities, countries and the world.

I know it sounds cheesy, but I truly believe our stories and truth can change the future for all of us. I feel most empowered in the belief that what I am doing is making an impact and changing someone’s world.

I was raised by a single mom, and every single day, I am grateful to her. International Woman’s Day allows me to lift up that gratitude. I have witnessed the power of a woman with a dream; that’s how I get to live mine.

Sarain Fox (Courtesy of Apple)
Sarain Fox (Courtesy of Apple)

Models in the photos:
Sarain’s auntie, Mary Bell – the subject of her CBC documentary Inendi.
Sarain’s daughter, Maamaatesiinh

María José Govea (@thesupermaniak)

Can you give us a brief introduction to you and work?

María José Govea: I’m a Venezuelan-Canadian photographer who used to be a DJ. I started out shooting concerts and touring with artists, and now I’m focusing more on portraiture and commercial photography.

Tell us about your photo series and what inspired it.
MJG: My series is inspired by female friendship. I photographed my best friend, Alex. We’ve been shooting together for a very long time, and we became very close in the process. She owns an antique business, so we had a lot of fun props and clothes and lights to play around with. We just met up at her place and free-styled the whole shoot. I know that when I’m with Alex, the photos will just magically and automatically happen.

My favourite way to shoot on iPhone are in ProRAW, using the Wide camera and shooting in low light. I shoot very fast and change my mind very quickly, so I love to go back and forth between all settings and see what works best.

When do you feel the most empowered?

MJG: When I’m holding my camera!

María José Govea (Courtesy of Apple)
María José Govea (Courtesy of Apple)
María José Govea (Courtesy of Apple)

Model in photos:
Alex Kerr

Briony Douglas (@briony)

Can you give us a brief introduction to you and work?

Briony Douglas: I’m a Toronto-based Visual Artist, Photographer, Director and Illustrator. My unique visual art style stands out from the rest of the crowd by blending elements of surrealism and pop culture while also taking cues from a bygone era. I use my art as a conversation starter for topics close to my heart.

Represented by Canada’s top production house, Westside Studio, my photography stands out from the crowd, usually telling a story. My large-scale sculptures, which have been shown across the country, often speak to issues happening in today’s society.

I am also a voice in the mental health advocacy community, a sneakerhead, and a fashion lover.

My art is meant to strike a conversation, push boundaries and reshape the perception of how we view ourselves.

Tell us about your photo series and what inspired it.

BD: As a woman who felt my voice wasn’t heard for a large majority of my life, I wanted to create a work of art that spoke to the censorship of women. Although things are better than they used to be, we are often met with intimidation for simply exercising our right to free expression. We deserve to be heard, to be in every room and be free to be our authentic selves.

I designed these squares for each woman to create the illusion of being pixelated or censored. This is speaking to both the physical and mental censorship of women in all aspects of our lives because censorship conveys the message that it is something to be hidden and ashamed of.

This piece was created to evoke self-reflection for the viewer to think about how she has felt censored and empower her to break out into her voice, body, and experiences.

I used the iPhone 13 Pro Max to shoot this [series], mainly using Portrait mode. I liked shooting on iPhone for this particular shoot because it not only amplified the beautiful skin tones but stayed true to them as well.

When do you feel the most empowered?

BD: When I love myself and know my worth, and see other women recognize that in themselves too.

Briony Douglas (Courtesy of Apple)
Briony Douglas (Courtesy of Apple)
Briony Douglas (Courtesy of Apple)

Additional creative team on set:
Andrea Rose – Creative Direction
Jen Cronin – Makeup Artist
Amber Bentley – Makeup Artist

Models in the photos:

Elisha Ladeza (Dancer)
Babbu (Painter)
Joanna Lee (Designer)
Lesley Hampton (Fashion Designer)
Santi (Artist)