Giving Voice to Black Female Photographers

Giving Voice to Black Female Photographers

It's one thing to be a female and feeling represented in this industry, but it's a whole different thing to be a black female, trying to acquire recognition and voice in photography. How many can you name from the top of your head? For the first time in 30 years, there is a substantial body of work to give an international representation to women of African descent. MFON, "an exclusive and commemorative publication," has collated stories and photographs from over 100 women of African descent, to kick off their first issue, "MFON: Women Photographers of the African Diaspora."

The beauty of this grand project is that it also contains voices of women from academic, journalism, and other arts backgrounds. These women work within different genres, are of various ethnicities and ages, contributing to a truly diverse display of work that celebrates different identities and their ways of telling stories, ranging from fine art to photojournalism and beyond.

Image by Ian Dooley via Unsplash.

This project is aimed not only at photographers or art enthusiasts, but also as a legacy to the youngest generations. Women are sharing their stories, which act as a historical documentation covering various issues, such as racism and identity.

MFON do not intend to just stop there; they have also developed "MFON Legacy Grant," which will see "emerging black women photographers of African descent" celebrated and awarded. It's inspiring to see that more and more women will be encouraged to display their works of art, even more so because MFON's application process is not confined to those who can afford to enter, instead it's a "no-fee application process" and as such provides a fair opportunity to women, regardless of their financial background. It'll be exciting to see the vast range of work submitted.

Lead image by Autumn Goodman via Unsplash.

[via MFONfoto]

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80 Comments
Anonymous's picture

What's really hilarious is that you don't even see the irony in your original comment. You're both calling fstoppers sexist and asking them to be sexist. You're not asking them to feature the best photographers, your asking them to choose women. That's hilarious!

Anonymous's picture

Yeah she avoided mine too. Typical libtard

geoff powell's picture

loads of comments....but strangely enough no images in your portfolio, just another mouth with no substance ...

Alexander Petrenko's picture

The problem with Fstoppers is that they constantly delete any accounts that belong or just related to black female photographers. Right?

user 65983's picture

Anyone of any race or "color" can post on Fstoppers as long as the site is not blocked in their country. The Fstoppers team features good photographers...it doesn't matter what your race or color is. How about getting good first then coming back and trying to get featured for being good and not just because you feel special or more important than others.

ter pet's picture

so you're mad that something was given to a group of under represented people when they are 9.5/10 shut out of anything else. Makes no sense. Would you have been happier if it was just open to women or was it the (Voice to Black Female Photographers) that really got you. Always disappointed by the way some of you guys jump of any post that involves or has to do with a person of color. Just like with the article of the guy that was shot while trying to get his stolen camera back. You guys are BIG MAD.

David Stephen Kalonick's picture

Don't start with this person. Just search their past comments. Pretty sure their trolling or huge Rush fans.

David Stephen Kalonick's picture

Dude, calm down. MFON wants to recognize talented black female artist. You're getting all salty and make it an issue. Should we ask your parents to see if you can submit work? lol

Anonymous's picture

What a blowhard. This guy accuses David of trying to silence him, then states he wishes he could ban his speech because he doesn’t like the way he said it, then has the nerve to wax poetic about the dangers of fascism?!

So full of himself (among other things he’s full of).

Anonymous's picture

It's not name calling if it's describing the truth (a concept you enjoy skirting around to fit your own warped narrative). I'm not going to mince words because it may hurt your fragile sensibilities. And if you think I resorted to calling you names because of a disagreement on a topic, you're more delusional that I thought.

David Stephen Kalonick's picture

Bob, arguing on a thread will get us nowhere. You’re getting upset because a group of people are making a book to give notice to talented artist. Your view on it is your right and that’s fine. I didn’t help the situation by going for the knees with my original comment. When I get upset I do stupid things like said comment.

Let’s start over. Do you really believe that a group of black female artist shouldn’t be allowed to do something like this? Do you think that in a sea of artist that wanting a tiny bit of exposure by having this album might shed light to some really talented artist? How is this wrong? I don’t think it’s a race issue.

Dennis Johnson's picture

this is racism. sorry white woman or all men in all shapes and sizes. its black woman only. thats discrimination and racism. a very very bad thing when its no longer about your skill and the hard work you have put into your photography and no longer about your photography but about you, the black female photographer. lets think about it,. is it about the Art or about the artist ? disgusting . what would you say if instead of black woman it would say white men only ?

ter pet's picture

so you're mad that something was given to a group of under represented people when they are 9.5/10 shut out of anything else. Makes no sense. Would you have been happier if it was just open to women or was it the (Voice to Black Female Photographers) that really got you. Always disappointed by the way some of you guys jump of any post that involves or has to do with a person of color. Just like with the article of the guy that was shot while trying to get his stolen camera back. You guys are BIG MAD.

David Stephen Kalonick's picture

Don't start with this person. Just search their past comments. Pretty sure their trolling or huge Rush fans.

Dennis Johnson's picture

im against racism or discrimination full stop. if your good you will succeed. example of non white top photographers. John Edmonds, Gerald Cyrus, David Alekhuogie, Shamayim, Endia Beal, Joshua Rashaad McFadden (love his work) Devin N Morris, Michael McCoy, Chandra McCormick, Texas Isaiah, Jasmine Murrell, Kwasi Boyd-Bouldin.

but i notice that there are no eskimo or chinese photographers represented, and OMG, did i just notice that FStoppers does not have a tutorial shot by a black lady or chinese ?

its very easy to shout racism or like david kalonick does shut people out or up but these days its the quality of work and your network that gets you places as it should. not the color of your skin.

check out these black female photographers. they made it because of the quality of their work. LaToya Ruby Frazier, Coreen Simpson, Deborah Willis, Lorna Simpson.

david stephen kalonick, your just a racist.

David Stephen Kalonick's picture

Dude, calm down. MFON wants to recognize talented black female artist. You're getting all salty and make it an issue. Should we ask your parents to see if you can submit work? lol

Dennis Johnson's picture

Did you notice the down votes on your trolling posts ?

David Stephen Kalonick's picture

Dennis, arguing on a thread will get us nowhere. You’re getting upset because a group of people are making a book to give notice to talented artist. Your view on it is your right and that’s fine. I didn’t help the situation by going for the knees with my original comment. When I get upset I do stupid things like said comment.

Let’s start over. Do you really believe that a group of black female artist shouldn’t be allowed to do something like this? Do you think that in a sea of artist that wanting a tiny bit of exposure by having this album might shed light to some really talented artist? How is this wrong? I don’t think it’s a race issue.

Dennis Johnson's picture

first comment you attack,. bad move and not very constructive.

but okay,.let me explain.
first paragraph of the post places a black woman in a "victim" state.
this was the reason for this book and grant.

but what if that woman was white, 6e generation born on the African continent? would she be ruled out as being not black enough ?

if they would have made a book showing images from the best photographers coming from this continent not using color, race or gender to discriminate on i would applaud this initiative. now you are ruled out on gender if you are a man and maybe on color if you are not black enough. how about a mixed race woman, can she be part of this ?

for me, bottom line, if you discriminate based on the color of someones skin, their gender, race or any other feature you are a racist, discriminating and in violation of the human rights act of 1948.

Michael Jordan's picture

Here come the conservabros

Lance Holloway's picture

Why must we do this? Photography is colorblind. When people look at photographs they either connect with it or they don’t. The person taking the photo is of no consequence. Why is our current society constantly looking for ways to interject race into everything.

Andy Day's picture

Photography might be colourblind, but photography's history is dominated by white, middle class male privilege. Its inherent patriarchal heteronormativity perpetuates its patriarchal heteronormative tendencies.

Johnny Rico's picture

Oh man, we got a white knight in here.

Andy Day's picture

😂

user 65983's picture

That's nobody's problem. If you are of a race or "color" that feels entitled then just go and get a camera and start working instead of expecting a free pass. All those "white middle class males" never had nothing handed to them on a silver(or other color) platter. They worked for it.

Andy Day's picture

That's a very simplistic way of looking at it. Power structures are far more complex than that, more deeply culturally embedded, and thereby harder to identify, challenge, and overcome.

user 65983's picture

I call BS.

Dennis Johnson's picture

check the facts. go to 500px, flickr or any other website that offers free space for your pics. you will notice that most photographers are not black. a black female is something you will find difficult to find on any website. they are just not interested. has nothing to do with racism or discrimination. but i guess using Andy's logic. white rappers are discriminated against by the racist power structures etc etc,.. poop just came out of my mouth,.burp.

Ken Flanagan's picture

So what about the Latino woman, or the Chinese woman, or the....... I think you get it.

Give respect to all who work for it regardless of race, creed, culture, or sex.

Anonymous's picture

Screw them. #BlackWomenPhotographerLivesMatter

Dennis Johnson's picture

ken according to Andy Day, it has to do with white power structures focus against black woman. not a word about all those other races because they dont count in this discussion i guess. this whole discussion is just one next step in the way snowflakes and blackliesmatter movement thinks about white people. just scream racism at the top of your lungs, point at white people and do not show any type or solid proof. stick to screaming and making false accusations. this is a blacks against whites fight,.

Studio 403's picture

As my grandmother would say, “Gimminy Cricket”. Worn out on the divisive category's of photography How about a fund for old folks like me, who only got into photography because a crazy psychiatrists talked me into it. Now that's an oxymoron. And she is a woman. I really think she was an arch type of Jezebel from the OT.

michael buehrle's picture

oh boy........

Elan Govan's picture

Anybody remembers Jesse Owens, who won 4 gold medals at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin when Hitler was in charge there. Or Sachin Tendulkar, from India, one of those shit hole countries. He is a giant in the cricketing world, and no white batsmen are yet to pass his achievements.

Then there is Carl Lewis, Usain Bolt, Muttiah Muralitharan, Lewis Hamilton etc, superstars in their sport which was once dominated by white males.

The future is bright for us. Male and female, grab it with both hands and don't look back in anger.

Elan Govan's picture

Don't really care if he did or not. In any event, either of us was there. The point here is this. White women did not achieve the right to vote in their own country until the early 1900s, and there is still golf courses in the UK which do not allow women full membership.

A good understanding of history tells us why progress has been slow, and what has been the traditional barriers.

It is all relevant when it comes to breaking down barriers and ratifying the issues for easier access for the next generation. Even in Photography. But don't let me stop you from grumbling away. Be my guess.

Anonymous's picture

#BlackWomenPhotographerLivesMatter

michael buehrle's picture

#allwomenphotographerlivesmatter

Dennis Johnson's picture

sexist,. #alldutchmalephotographerlivesmatter LOL

Michael Jordan's picture

How secure, non black women photographers handle articles like this: they shrug and say “good for them. I’m gonna go take some photos.”
How non black women photographers who are insecure children that need a giant glass of shut up juice handle articles like this: “waaaah reverse racism!” “Woe is me and other strong alpha males!” “PC culture is ruining western civilization!” “But what about this! What about that?!” “All lives matter!”

Matt Cheale's picture

Except there's no belief of superiority here, so, no it's not racism. It is intended as a platform for people who are often discriminated against due to their skin colour and sex.

Anonymous's picture

"Racism is not limited to the belief of superiority."

Wrong. A belief of superiority based on race is literally the definition of the word in nearly every respected English dictionary available. A quick Google search finds that.

What a lazy, ignorant comment.

Anonymous's picture

Huh. How convenient that you cropped out the portion of the definition that details superiority.

What, do you think I don't have access to the same page?

Amended: What a lazy, ignorant, and deceitful comment.

Anonymous's picture

Caught in a lie and can’t even admit it. How ugly.

Yeah, as a photographer I know the purpose(s) of cropping. One of which is to hide mistakes.

Anonymous's picture

You’re either too stupid to read the primary definition of the word (which mentions superiority), too delusional to see it, or too unethical to care.

I don’t engage with stupid, crazy, liars.

Anonymous's picture

I don’t care how you want to rationalize your action, you liar.

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