For every artist, there is a creative medium that they secretly love. For me, that’s photography. It’s wild to think of how powerful this art form is and how a single image can shift cultural awareness. Magazine covers (whether found on glossy pages or in the digital realm) have the power to define what is beautiful, what is worth documenting, and, more importantly, who gets to capture it behind the lens.
It’s no secret that the fashion industry has failed to ensure that the subjects in front of and the people behind the camera reflected the full scope of humanity. That being said, efforts to change the fashion industry have been increasingly successful over the past few years. We’ve seen a conscious shift to support Black designers and hire Black stylists. Publications that have rarely hired Black photographers over the decades of their existence have done so recently. But even with these strides, there’s still more work to be done outside one month of the year. If the cultural conversations playing out across social media about cover shoots (both negative and positive) are any indication, it’s that we crave to see the world through a different lens and that images coming out of the fashion industry have not historically reflected the world at large.
Photographers who have been out here shooting are just beginning to get the recognition, opportunities, and pay that they deserve. The industry won’t change overnight, but we can continue to push for parity by getting to know a few of these groundbreaking photographers on a deeper level.
In that vein, we spoke with five photographers about what inspired them to get into the industry, what photography means to them on a personal level, and what a more inclusive fashion industry looks like in the near future. Keep reading to meet the talent that’s changing the world one shot at a time.