Updated: Oct 14
You might be wondering what the term "people of color" means in photography. The term and aesthetic photographs of people of color were created in response to photographers' frustration with seeing so many "aesthetic" pictures that were merely white and pale.
Although the technological capabilities of photography have significantly increased over the past few decades, the tech's bias in favor of light skin has persisted a certain ongoing lore about dark skin: darker skin tones require more light, darker skin is more challenging to edit, and darker skin is, generally speaking, difficult to photograph and film.
This was a subject that a few photographers dabbled in, and it appears to have developed into a niche. Below are 10 well-known "people of color" female photographers we think you should know.
1. Hana Mire
Hana Mire, a photographer and filmmaker from Somalia who now lives in the United Arab Emirates, concentrates her work on Somalia's underappreciated advantages. She is most known for her 2018 film "Rajada Dalka - Nations Hope," which depicts the Somali Women's National Basketball Team's tenacity and will in the face of persistent conflict. Together with fellow female photographer Fardowsa Hussein, Mire is a member of the Somali Arts Foundation's dual show "Still Life," which aims to buck the tradition of photography in Somalia being controlled by men.
2. Olivia Lifungula
Olivia Lifungula is a photographer and filmmaker from London who was born in the Congo and raised in Belgium. Intimacy, beauty, and the portrayal of black womanhood in the arts and media are all subjects she examines in her work. Several worldwide journals have featured her work. And most recently, she participated in The Self-Portrait exhibition by Ronan Mackenzie and WePresent. The exhibit honored Black female photographers by showcasing the complexity of the tales they tell and the women behind the cameras telling them.
3. Tamary Kudita
A Zimbabwean photographer uses portraiture, in particular, to reframe, appropriate, and subvert the Western-propagated popular imagery to uncover and communicate an authentic story about Black identity and culture. She combines modern and historical styles to show how the past influences the present, and she also employs antiquated photographic techniques to give her work a vintage appearance. Tamary has displayed her work at several galleries in Zimbabwe and South Africa. Her "African Victorian" photo series, which combines Victorian style with African culture, has been shown in galleries in Zimbabwe and New York.
4. Temi Thomas
Temi Thomas is a creative director and photographer from Nigeria who resides in Dallas, Texas. Temi works for Mizzi, the official streetwear company of the African Diaspora, as a brand strategist. Her work has appeared in magazines like Vogue, Wired, and Forbes. Temi participated in each step of the process, from conception to implementation. She enjoys putting creative elements together to produce amazing work and has an excellent eye for detail.
5. Ayesha Kazim
Freelance photographer Ayesha Kazim divides her time between Cape Town, South Africa, and New York City. Ayesha's photography is influenced by a diverse spectrum of cultures and experiences. She finds inspiration in moments of solitude, reflection, and innocent curiosity, which manifests itself in the subjects she chooses to photograph, who radiate strength, resilience, and a modest feeling of confidence.
6. Basetsana Maluleka
Self-taught photographer Basetsana Maluleka is from Pretoria, South Africa. She is dedicated to paving a new route for themselves and other underrepresented voices. Maluleka completed the Lampost Luminaries 2020 Fellowship course of study. She founded Shuttterbug Diaries pty (Ltd), a photographic business, and is also active in philanthropy.
7. Sianeh Kpukuyou
Photographer Sianeh Kpukuyou, 22, is from Liberia and currently resides in Accra, Ghana. Her work frequently tells African stories and features people with dark skin, which she considers important given the prevalence of colorism. The collage artist and documentary photographer have worked on several projects, including an exhibition highlighting the professionalism of Black hair and African dress in the business world.