I recently finished the final episode of Netflix’s “Strong Black Lens,” a 6-part digital series released last year that gracefully outlines the importance of Black photographers telling their own stories, controlling their narratives, and creating legacies. Through a series of interviews and round-table discussions with powerhouse photographers like Kwaku Alston, Dana Scruggs, Erik Carter, and Devin Allen, this show covers everything from mental health struggles to how Black photographers are playing a role in social justice movements and the implications of good (and historically bad) lighting for subjects with darker skin tones.
Throughout the series, I was frequently struck by each photographer’s candidness and thoughtfulness when discussing hugely sensitive topics and personal experiences in the industry.
Inspired, I promptly went to Instagram to check in with many of my personal favorite photographers, curious to see the images they chose to share during Black History Month and eager to bear witness to how they stand in their photographic power.
Check out which images caught my eye below. Then, take a moment to reflect or read up on the history of racism in photography. While there’s no denying how far the industry has come—Shirley Cards are thankfully a thing of the past, communities like Black Women Photographers and The Authority Collective champion diverse voices, and tech giants like Google are exploring better technology like Real Tone—there’s still a long way to go before racial bias is appropriately tackled in this industry.
Cover image by Aundre Larrow. All Instagram posts and photos were embedded with the artists’ permission.
Dee Dwyer Jonts
Photo credit: Courtesy of Ebony Media, Photo by Keith Major
Wanjiku Gitau & The AfroCan Queen Photography Team
These 8 photographers only scratch the surface of all the talent on Instagram. Take a look at our list of 100+ Black photographers to follow on social media and be sure to give some of them a follow, too.
Plus, I encourage everyone to check out the first episode of “Strong Black Lens” below. It’s something special.