Authority Collective

Biography: The Authority Collective is a group of womxn, femmes, trans, non-binary and gender non-conforming people of color reclaiming their authority in the photography, film and VR/AR industries. Our mission is to empower marginalized artists with... read on
on artsy: These Photographers Are Ensuring That Diversity Becomes More Than an Industry Trend
authority collective
Feb 10, 2019
When Oriana Koren launched their career as a freelance photographer shooting weddings, they began to realize the lack of visibility for marginalized people in photography. “I had instances where I’d be on assignment for a magazine shooting a five-star restaurant, and I’d have all of this camera equipment on me, and inevitably, somebody would treat me like I was the help and push a wine glass into my hand or ask me to go get them something,” Koren told Artsy. (Koren identifies as non-binary and uses she/they pronouns.) “I think it really awakened what it meant for me to navigate the world in a black body.”Koren recognizes that they are not the only marginalized person to experience barriers in the lens-based industry, which often has a predilection for a monotonous roster of white photographers that are called upon for consistent work. (Tyler Mitchell, for example, was the first black photographer to shoot the cover of Vogue; his September cover of Beyoncé was a milestone in the magazine’s 125-year history). To develop a community of support, Koren connected with a group of photographers of color from the U.S. and Canada who identify as women, femmes, trans, non-binary, and gender non-conforming for a symposium about the disparities they were facing in their respective careers.

A handful of them had been accepted into Women Photograph—a database and initiative with a goal to elevate the “plurality of feminine” voices in visual journalism, including trans, queer, and non-binary photographers. However, the attendees at the symposium shared similar experiences of exclusion. Koren said that they discussed the micro- and micro-aggressions that they faced in the industry, as well as the idea that a database for women does not necessarily ensure that underrepresented women would receive equal opportunities. Thus, from the symposium, they developed an actionable item, which they named Authority Collective.

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 These Photographers Are Ensuring That Diversity Becomes More Than an Industry Trend
Authority Collective and Diversify Photo are leading the charge to give visibility to marginalized professional photographers.

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