Reclaiming Photography

A panel discussion from the founding members of RECLAIM: an alliance of The Everyday Projects, Native Agency, Majority World, Women Photograph, and Diversify Photo.

Reclaiming Photography

Featuring: Laura Beltrán Villamizar, Shahidul Alam, Austin Merrill, Daniella Zalcman, Tara Pixley, Brent Lewis

Presented in partnership with

Reclaim Photography


Saturday, September 16 | 12:00PM – 1:00PM
Location: St. Ann’s Warehouse – 45 Water St DUMBO Brooklyn


A panel discussion from the founding members of RECLAIM: an alliance of The Everyday Projects, Native Agency, Majority World, Women Photograph, Minority Report [renamed from Visioning Project], and Diversify Photo. We are six organizations committed to amplifying the voices of underrepresented photographers and decolonizing the photojournalism industry. We are working together to diversify our community of visual storytellers, making sure that the lenses through which we interpret our world are as diverse as the people and places we hope to document.


Laura Beltrán Villamizar (Native Agency) is an independent photography editor and writer born in Bogotá, Colombia. She is the founder of Native Agency – a platform dedicated to the promotion and development of visual journalists from Latin America, Africa and the Middle East. Before founding Native, she worked as editor at World Press Photo, where she led educational programmes in Latin America and co-produced the yearly Joop Swart Masterclass in Amsterdam.

Prior to joining World Press Photo, she worked as associate photo editor for Revolve Magazine where she oversaw long-term features, international commissions for print and online, and curated the magazine’s emphasis on visual storytelling. She currently lives and works in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

Shahidul Alam (Majority World) obtained a PhD in chemistry before switching to photography. His seminal work documented the fall of General Ershad. Former president of the Bangladesh Photographic Society, Alam set up the Drik agency, Chobi Mela festival and Pathshala, considered one of the finest schools of photography in the world.

Shown in MOMA New York, Centre Georges Pompidou and Tate Modern, Alam has guest curated at Whitechapel Gallery and Musee de Quai Branly. His awards include Mother Jones and Shilpakala Award.

Speaker at Harvard, Stanford, UCLA, Oxford and Cambridge universities, TEDx, POPTech and National Geographic, Alam chaired the international jury of the prestigious World Press Photo contest. Honorary Fellow of Royal Photographic Society, Alam is visiting professor of Sunderland University in UK and advisory board member of National Geographic.

John Morris describes his book “My journey as a witness” as “The most important book ever written by a photographer.”

Austin Merrill (Everyday Projects) is a writer, editor, and photographer. A cofounder of Everyday Africa and The Everyday Projects, he is a former West Africa-based correspondent for the Associated Press, and a former editor at Vanity Fair. His writing and photography have been published by Vanity Fair, National Geographic, Wired, Conde Nast Traveler, Departures, The New Republic, and others. His photography has been exhibited internationally, and he has received grants and awards from the Open Society Foundations, Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, Fund for Investigative Journalism, Society of American Travel Writers, and others. He was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Ivory Coast and earned a Master of International Affairs degree at Columbia University.

Daniella Zalcman (Women Photograph, b. 1986) is a documentary photographer based in London and New York. She is a multiple grantee of the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, a fellow with the International Women’s Media Foundation, and a member of Boreal Collective. She is also the founder of Women Photograph, an initiative to elevate the voices of female and nonbinary visual journalists.

Her work tends to focus on the legacies of western colonization, from the rise of homophobia in East Africa to the forced assimilation education of Indigenous children in North America. Her ongoing project Signs of Your Identity has been recognized with the 2017 Arnold Newman Prize, a 2017 RFK Journalism Award, the 2016 Magnum Foundation Inge Morath Award, and the 2016 FotoEvidence Book Award.

Daniella’s work regularly appears in The Wall Street Journal, Mashable, the BBC, and CNN, among others. She graduated from Columbia University with a degree in architecture in 2009.

A documentary photographer and filmmaker as well as scholar of visual media, Tara Pixley received her MFA in Photography from Savannah College of Art and Design. Her current PhD research at University of California San Diego looks at contemporary visual journalism industry practices/practitioners and considers the role of the visual media producer in sociocultural construction/dissemination. Past photographic work has attended to the relationship of image makers to subjects, frequently using filmic and photographic portraiture to probe the complexities of self-presentation/re-presentation, particularly as it pertains to conceptions of race and gender.

Her short documentary film Porn Star Quotidian on feminist adult film star Ela Darling has been screened internationally in film and media festivals from Los Angeles to Paris and her writing on visual media has been published in academic journals, magazines and news media trade publications. As a documentary photographer, she regularly contributes to the New York Times, among several other national and international editorial publications.

She recently completed a stint as a Visiting Fellow at the Nieman Foundation for Journalism of Harvard University researching and writing on how to improve inequities behind the documentary camera. Additionally, her photographic work and scholarship on re-imagining blackness, queer communities and feminism has been the recipient of an NEA Challenge America Grant, an Interdisciplinary Collaboratories Grant, a UC Consortium for Black Studies project grant and a Frontiers of Innovation Scholars Program Grant. Tara currently teaches documentary photography, visual journalism and visual culture at San Diego City College and UC San Diego.

Brent Lewis is the Senior Photo Editor of ESPN’s The Undefeated, where he drives the visual language of the website that is based around the intersection of sports, race and culture. Before joining the darksSide, he was a staff photojournalist at The Denver Post. Through the years his photos have been used by the Chicago Tribune, L.A. Times, Associated Press, Forbes and Yahoo! News as well as in the RedEye, MetroMix and in the Chicago Reporter.

Brent lives in Washington D.C. with his wife, Jasmine; son, Koa; and dog, London McGillicutty. Some of his favorite photographers, just in case you were wondering, are Henri Cartier-Bresson, Gordon Parks, Eli Reed and W. Eugene Smith.



A Conversation on Widowhood

Presented by: Amy Toensing, Whitney Johnson

SUNDAY, Sept 17 | 12PM – 1PM

In many regions of the world widowhood marks a “social death” for a woman – casting her and her children out to the margins of society. A Conversation on Widowhood Fe...
Like many other countries worldwide, there is a stereotype in Peru that trans women are only capable of working as hairdressers or sex workers. But, because of high competition for salon work and the need to pay for studies, many trans women are relegated to prostitution. Here Camila, left, gets out of a taxi after a long night of dancing. //// Latin America leads the world in homicides of transgender people due to toxic societal forces that stigmatize them--most don't live past 35. My ongoing project documents life-threatening challenges facing trans women in this region. Though IÕm an outsider to the issues trans women face, through my years of documenting this community, I have built strong relationships centered on trust between myself and the women I have photographed. My long-term commitment to this community has allowed me to intimately document often difficult issues, such as violence, substance abuse, family and friendship dynamics, health struggles, and the loss of a loved one. Because of my perspective as an outsider, I am especially sensitive to how my pictures portray this community. As a way to combat tropes in traditional media that show trans women as hyper-sexualized, deconstructed objects only capable of prostitution, I have focused on their personal lives with friends, family, and partners rather than their lives on the streets. When photographing the streets, I strive to convey the tight-knit connections between them, the abuse by law enforcement, the discomforts of prostitution, or the quiet, quirky moments that are hidden from mainstream media. When outsiders fail to show the larger picture, and only focus on what is sensational, we are narrowly constructing people and society will fail to understand the important nuances of a situation that they might be quick to judge.

Reclaiming Photography

Presented by: Laura Beltrán Villamizar, Shahidul Alam, Austin Merrill, Daniella Zalcman, Tara Pixley, Brent Lewis

SATURDAY, Sept 16 | 12PM – 1PM

A panel discussion from the founding members of RECLAIM: an alliance of The Everyday Projects, Native Agency, Majority World, Women Photograph, and Diversify Photo. Re...