This weekend sees London play home to Europe’s largest international photography exhibition Photo London. In its second year and held at Somerset House, as well as several smaller galleries sprawled across the capital, there are some major works for sale: prints by Henri Cartier-Bresson, Vivian Maier, Andy Warhol, Brian Duffy’s iconic portraits of David Bowie and an incredible series of black and whites taken by Tod Papageorge inside the 1970s nightclub mecca, Studio 54. And to add to the excitement Martin Parr has opened a food truck of British delights (think pies, sarnies and mugs of tea) to coincide with the publication of his latest book Real Food (Phaidon), while fashion photographer Rankin has created a Rankomat photo booth where visitors can take a portrait of themselves Rankin-ified in high-contrast black and white.

In the midst of this photography marathon, we had our eyes fixed firmly on the contemporary female photographers who are making waves across the world. So here is our pick of the top women to watch, admire and start your collection with.

Anja Niemi (The Little Black Gallery)

This Norwegian photographer is making humorous, dreamy, strange and beautiful photographs that often depict herself as another woman – often a fictional character. Niemi uses muted pastel palettes to show glamorous, coiffed and wig-wearing women in varied and luxurious settings, subsuming these characters into her being.

Juno Calypso (TJ Boulting Gallery)

Juno Calypso is another photographer who often takes self-portraits as she assumes the guise of her alter ego Joyce. Her most recent series show a solo woman on honeymoon in a bubblegum-pink love hotel room, lounging in the heart-shaped bath, painted green, wigged and alone and trying out various strange beauty treatments. It’s weird and wonderful, and she’s definitely one to watch.

Claudine Doury (La Galérie Particulière)

Claudine Doury is a French portrait photographer who takes often haunting but startlingly sensitive portraits. Her travels have seen her photograph everyday people across Siberia, Crimea and Central Asia in a style that strays from the normal tropes of photojournalism to incorporate much beauty and tenderness.

Julie Cockburn (Flowers Gallery)

Julie Cockburn finds old photographs, trawling eBay and car boot sales to unearth donated and unwanted old photographs which she re-imagines with embroidery and collage. The results are strange and distinctly modern, decorative prints that breathe new life into aging, sepia family photos.

Chloe Sells (Michael Hoppen Gallery)

Chloe Sells is a Colorado-born and Botswana-based photographer who shoots on film and then manipulates the images into kaleidoscopic and colourful vistas of nature. Her dreamscapes are created by overlaying textures and colours; the prints are small but mightily vibrant.

Karen Knorr (Danziger Gallery)

The German photographer Karen Knorr has long been taking playful and humorous photographs, her series
Belgravia shows the British elites among their favourite gentlemen’s clubs while Fables shows grand animals juxtaposed in regal and palatial settings. On show at Photo London is India Song, a series of gargantuan photographs of exotic animals housed inside Rajasthani palaces. The results are startling, glittering compositions.

Lina Scheynius (Christophe Guye Gallery)

Scheynius doesn’t call herself a photographer but she grew and grew in fame with the advent of Flickr and Tumblr, so now this Swedish “photographer” is taking photos for the likes of
Vogue. Using film, Scheynius works with natural light and the curve and texture of human skin to create eerie, beautiful and intimate images.

Photo London is at Somerset House 19-22 May 2016.