Last week, a roster of 30 contemporary photographers to watch was announced. Unlike most lists produced by the photo industry, this lineup is committed to recognizing and awarding the work of photographers who are womxn, femmes, trans, non-binary people of color, or otherwise marginalized artists.
Frustrated with the lack of diversity among the photo industry’s award winners and determined to uplift their own, The Authority Collective, in partnership with Diversify.Photo, created “The Lit List,” a merit-based inventory of 30 photographers to follow, hire and exhibit. The initiative is a direct response to the consistent lack of recognition of marginalized artists.
“To be frank,” said Oriana Koren in an interview with Jon Feinstein, “there are too many people in positions of power in lens-based industries who simply don’t want to see our industry become inclusive because it threatens a particular sense of power and privilege they enjoy.”
To create the list, two hundred nominations were made by select photographers, photo editors and creative directors. Koren told Feinstein the jurors were people that Authority Collective had seen “show up as collaborators in disruption instead of on-the-sideline allies” in the industry. Their nominations were then pared down to a short-list of 50 by a hand-picked jury consisting of Tara Pixley, Rozette Rago, Andrea Wise, Brent Lewis and Yvonne Stender. Lastly, 30 photographers were chosen from the short-list as 2018 Lit List Finalists. The awarded photographers were chosen by a jury including Zora J Murff, Paloma Shutes, Siobhán Bohnacker and Noelle Flores-Theard.
In conversation with Feinstein, Koren explained that the list was created to accomplish a two main things: “primarily, showing marginalized artists that we believe in their talent…and second, that these systems can be disrupted in a way that actually helps to create a sustainable and inclusive industry in which everyone is able to thrive and succeed.”
The 2018 Lit List Finalists are:
Aisha Mugo, Andrea Morales, Anthony Geathers, Arlene Mejorado, Aundre Larrow, Carmen Chan, Carolina Hidalgo, Dana Scruggs, Eloisa Lopez, Erika P. Rodriguez, Gabriella Angotti-Jones, Jared Soares, Jessica Pettway, Josué Rivas, Kayla Reefer, Kelly Marshall, Lucy Hewett, Lynsey Weatherspoon, Maheder Haileselassie, Maria del Rio, Mengwen Cao, Meron Menghistab, Michael M. Santiago, Miranda Barnes, Nichole Washington, Rhynna M. Santos, Shan Wallace, Shirley Yu, Sofia Jaramillo, Sophia Nahli Allison.