An Open Letter From Women to Women in Photojournalism

© Johis Alarcón / Native

Native exists from the idea that we do not see ourselves in the stories that are currently given a platform. Even though we push and represent all genders from under-represented communities, as a female-only management team, we here at Native are aware of how badly represented we are as women in the photojournalism industry.

If we look at respectable publications and their numbers, women are still hardly ever recognised, nor do women play part in the most important contests or grants in the industry.

We are constantly told that one woman on a line-up sufficiently includes our gender and fully represents the diversity of the audience. We see that a woman in the public eye is an exception and therefore we quietly assume that only exceptional women should be given a platform. We fear that we are unexceptional.

Women, we’re here to tell you that no matter what type of work you’re doing, or the type of story you are covering, you are exceptional. If your visual story is compelling and aims at having any type of social impact, it is a courageous one and it deserves to be supported and recognised.

Time’s up for the media’s to ignore your stories, our stories.

This is the reason we’re writing to you, female photographers! We have to be the driving force for change in the industry, which is why we encourage you to apply or to ask to be nominated by us for the Anja Niedringhaus Courage in Photojournalism Award from the International Women’s Media Foundation.

Ladies, remember that “courage in journalism” is not only meant for those doing work on the frontline and as cheesy as it might sound, you are worth the prize.

We believe that courage exists in many forms, and goes well beyond covering the frontlines of conflict. If you are working on a story worthy to be told and supported, we want YOU to apply or reach out to us for a nomination. It’s time to celebrate, to shine and to be proud of the work that we do as visual storytellers.

If you need advice or have any questions, please do get in touch with us, we’re Native, visual storytellers from under-represented regions and you can find us as @nativphotograph on Twitter and Instagram.

Much love, 
Laura Beltrán Villamizar (Founder)
Emree Weaver (Editor and Content Manager)
Laura Bogaerts (Press Officer)
Jitske Nap (Community Manager)