Meet the photographer empowering women of color with her gorgeous portraits.

10 years ago, Sasha Matthews was pregnant and felt so alone.

Matthews was pregnant and had little support. She spent most of her pregnancy talking to other pregnant women online. In fact, Matthews only has one or two pictures of herself from those 40 weeks. One doesn't even have her face in it.

"My whole life dynamic changed," she says. "I felt very shamed and hidden away and didn't feel very important."


So when she transitioned from her career in mental and behavioral health to photography, she knew she wanted to support and empower women, especially women of color.

Today, Matthews, founder of Green Tangerine Photography, takes absolutely stunning photos that showcase women of color during the seasons of their lives.

All photos by Sasha Matthews/Green Tangerine Photography, used with permission.

She's best known for her maternity photographs. With stunning gowns, compelling poses, and happy, confident mamas, Matthews' beautiful work celebrates black motherhood the way it deserves to be celebrated.

"I knew — particularly with women of color who are often shamed for the number of kids they have or how they have their children or how their motherhood is constantly in question — that I wanted to show the side of 'Look at these gorgeous mamas!'" she says.

Matthews encourages her clients to rock fabulous dresses, makeup, or anything else that makes them feel beautiful.

A firm believer that you can never be overdressed for a portrait, Matthews even keeps racks of gowns in multiple sizes in her studio for women who can't afford to spend the money on something new to wear.

She also researches poses and styling to make sure women of every size feel elegant and powerful in their photographs.

"Taking pictures is hard for me even," she says. "If you look better, then you'll feel more confident."

She's had the privilege of watching families bloom and grow seemingly right in front of her eyes.

From engagement photos and maternity photos to newborn and family photos, Matthews' work is never done. And that's exactly how she likes it.

Many clients even become friends. Matthews babysits, attends birthday parties, and sends flowers if a relative passes. It's much more than a business transaction; it's community-building.

"It's really that personal for me," she says. "I am documenting monumental parts of people's lives."

Since telling her story and sharing her work, Matthews discovered the unique power of the words, "me too."

Though Matthew's son is now 10, many people are hearing her story for the first time. Some reached out to share similar feelings of shame or loneliness during pregnancy. For them, her story is hopeful: If she can get through it, they can too.

"I think people want to know they're not the only person who's being shamed. They're not the only person who's not being supported," Matthews says. "And I tell people all the time, there's so much power in the words, 'me too.'"

Photo by Louis Hansel on Unsplash
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This story was originally shared on Capital One.

Inside the walls of her kitchen at her childhood home in Guatemala, Evelyn Klohr, the founder of a Washington, D.C.-area bakery called Kakeshionista, was taught a lesson that remains central to her business operations today.

"Baking cakes gave me the confidence to believe in my own brand and now I put my heart into giving my customers something they'll enjoy eating," Klohr said.

While driven to launch her own baking business, pursuing a dream in the culinary arts was economically challenging for Klohr. In the United States, culinary schools can open doors to future careers, but the cost of entry can be upwards of $36,000 a year.

Through a friend, Klohr learned about La Cocina VA, a nonprofit dedicated to providing job training and entrepreneurship development services at a training facility in the Washington, D.C-area.

La Cocina VA's, which translates to "the kitchen" in Spanish, offers its Bilingual Culinary Training program to prepare low-and moderate-income individuals from diverse backgrounds to launch careers in the food industry.

That program gave Klohr the ability to fully immerse herself in the baking industry within a professional kitchen facility and receive training in an array of subjects including culinary skills, food safety, career development and English language classes.

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This article originally appeared on 11.21.16


Photographer Katie Joy Crawford had been battling anxiety for 10 years when she decided to face it straight on by turning the camera lens on herself.

In 2015, Upworthy shared Crawford's self-portraits and our readers responded with tons of empathy. One person said, "What a wonderful way to express what words cannot." Another reader added, "I think she hit the nail right on the head. It's like a constant battle with yourself. I often feel my emotions battling each other."

So we wanted to go back and talk to the photographer directly about this soul-baring project.

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When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."