Lack of cultural and gender-based diversity has been a problem in the art and photography world for years. Despite many positive, forward-thinking exhibitions, programs, and platforms dedicated to changing this, many of the major photo competitions, "photographers-to-watch" lists, and photographer mastheads in major publications are overwhelmingly white and male. Sure, there are exceptions – and a number of ongoing efforts to change this – but the scales, especially in magazine publishing and major commercial shoots, are still tipped.
Frustrated with the slow pace to progress, photographer, writer, and curator Oriana Koren, alongside her collective The Authority Collective, developed "The Lit List," a merit-based, 30-strong selection of female, trans, non-binary, people of color, and otherwise marginalized photographers who they believe are not getting the attention they deserve. To be announced in August 2018 and exhibited at Photoville in Brooklyn, NY, the final list of 30 will be pared down from a 50-photographer shortlist based on 200 initial nominations made over the past few months. The jury is comprised of industry decision-makers of color and allies including Zora J Murff of Strange Fire Collective, Paloma Shutes of California Sunday magazine, Siobhán Bohnacker of The New Yorker, and Noelle Flores-Theard of Magnum Foundation.
Excited, hopeful, and equally frustrated with Humble's own tortoise-crawl towards equal representation, I spoke with Oriana Koren to learn more about the inspiring project. Throughout this interview, we've included some of our favorite images from the photographers being considered.
Jon Feinstein in conversation with Oriana Koren.