Most Shared

The photo industry is changing. These 10 beautiful images show why that's a good thing.

Women of color are incredible. This company is making sure the world knows that too.

When Getty Images saw there wasn't enough positive images of women of color, they put their creativity into action.

Currently, more than 80% of photographers are white. Often criticized as only being accessible to the elite, white, and wealthy, the art community has struggled to make careers in the arts lucrative and sustainable for creatives that come from different socioeconomic backgrounds. Getty Images has spent years trying to change that.

"We've always been committed to making sure that the emerging minority photographers have the financial support they need to do their work," says Tristen Norman, head of creative insights and planning at Getty Images. "But beyond that, we're also committed to producing the right content and working with our incredibly large contributor community to do so."


Photo by Naila Ruechel/Getty Images.

Getty Images is amplifying beautiful imagery of diverse communities by working to put women of color both in front of and behind the camera.

To grapple with the very real glass ceiling in the art community — particularly in film and photography — that often impedes artists of color from pursuing the arts full time, Getty created two fellowships to get more women of color behind the camera. The Women Photograph Grant and the Array Grant are designed to foster and elevate female photojournalists from underrepresented communities.

Photo by Naila Ruechel/Getty Images.

"We're acknowledging our issues out loud, and we're taking those steps to correct the issues," Norman explains. "I'm pumped about the grant programs as they represent a more formal step that we're taking to address these challenges, specifically those for underrepresented communities of color that experience a lot of systemic and economic and inequities."

Photo by Rochelle Brock/Refinery29 for Getty Images.

One of the staff photographers currently carrying out the mission toward more inclusive artwork is photographer Naila Ruechel.

Photo by Naila Ruechel/Getty Images.

Ruechel has created stunning, bold, and bright images of women of color — a huge step toward representation and inclusion in the photojournalism industry.

"I think image making is a powerful tool that can really influence society," Ruechel says. "If we don't support diversity, we risk becoming more and more narrow-minded. We need diverse voices to broaden our understanding and acceptance of each other."

Photo by Naila Ruechel/Getty Images.

Ruechel's work serves as a powerful counternarrative to years of women of color being told they don't meet society's standards of beauty and femininity. Unsatisfied with black identity constantly being tied to slavery, she has advocated for photojournalism that shows women of color in beautiful, nuanced ways.

To achieve this goal, she knows that it requires putting women of color in front of and behind the camera to translate those diverse stories to a series of photos.

"I think if we demystify groups that are considered 'different,' we will encourage people to simply look at each other as what we are — humans," Ruechel says. "What I'm trying to achieve with my work is to humanize groups of people whose image have been largely misused, misrepresented, and/or underrepresented."

The industry's pervasive misrepresentations come from a fraught history between white photographers and communities of color.

For decades, women of color have largely been ignored in the high-fashion and high-art industries. Considering them subhuman or lesser-than, many major media companies have often failed to showcase indigenous communities and people of color in normal, human ways, instead catering to stereotypical tropes and problematic typecasts to appeal to antiquated ideas of what it means to be a person of color.

Photo by Caroline Tompkins/Refinery29 for Getty Images.

Most recently, National Geographic became one of the first mainstream media publications to formally apologize for these depictions. In an article titled "For Decades, Our Coverage Was Racist. To Rise Above Our Past, We Must Acknowledge It," editor-in-chief Susan Goldberg called for much-need changes in visual depictions of people of color:

"I want a future editor of National Geographic to look back at our coverage with pride — not only about the stories we decided to tell and how we told them but about the diverse group of writers, editors, and photographers behind the work."

Getty has worked to create an archive of photos of strong, empowered women throughout multiple decades of history, and it wants to take its commitment to inclusion even further.

Photo by Naila Ruechel/Getty Images.

"The very fact someone like me — a black woman with a multitude of other intersecting identities — has joined the creative team at Getty Images is a good indication that things are moving in the right direction within the industry," Norman explains. "That an organization of this size and visibility is so committed to ensuring that diverse talent is shaping their creative both inside and out is an incredible step in the right direction. There's still so much work to do, but the opening and welcoming of my seat and many others at the table is powerful and important."

Photo by Naila Ruechel/Getty Images.

Artwork and photojournalism aren't the only ways to shift the images that people see and the way they think.

A recent British study found that minority groups are represented in less than 20% of brand campaigns.

John Antoniello, a creative director at Sapientrazorfish, thinks that advertising may be one way to continue moving this mission forward. Having worked for various social awareness campaigns, such as HeForShe and Partnership for Drug Free America, Antoniello is aware of just how powerful a role marketing can play in getting society to value diverse imagery.

"I think, at large, the advertising industry is kind of now starting to make this turn, and I think it's going to be interesting to see how these large brands deal with this sort of new world that we live in," Antoniello says. "We have so many new companies and startups that are honing in on not only the kinds of people that they want to talk to but also the values that they stand for."

Photo by Stephanie Nnamani/Digital Vision/Getty Images.

Ruechel, Norman, and Antoniello make one thing very clear: It takes a lot of key players with similar values to make real progress.

When creating diverse imagery is both a priority and a value, we get closer to normalizing this type of imagery for mass audiences.

Photo by Renell Medrano/Refinery29 for Getty Images.

When organizations challenge themselves to increase diversity in front of and behind the camera, they signal that our ideas of beauty, culture, and everyday life need to include the experiences of all people.

When we do this, not only do we get beautiful art, we also create media that is representative of our full, incredible society.

We weren't paid to write this post. (We would tell you if we were!) We just think the work that Getty Images is doing is important and very cool.

Photo by Picsea on Unsplash
True

It is said that once you've seen something, you can't unsee it. This is exactly what is happening in America right now. We have collectively watched the pot of racial tension boil over after years of looking the other way, insisting that hot water doesn't exist, pretending not to notice the smoke billowing out from every direction.

Ignoring a problem doesn't make it go away—it prolongs resolution. There's a whole lot of harm to be remedied and damage to be repaired as a result of racial injustice, and it's up to all of us to figure out how to do that. Parents, in particular, are recognizing the importance of raising anti-racist children; if we are unable to completely eradicate racism, maybe the next generation will.

How can parents ensure that the next generation will actively refuse to perpetuate systems and behaviors embedded in racism? The most obvious answer is to model it. Take for example, professional tennis player Serena Williams and her husband, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian.

Keep Reading Show less
Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash (left), Kimberly Zapata (right)

Picking a psychiatrist is a precarious situation, one I know all too well. I have bipolar disorder, depressive disorder and anxiety disorder. I have been in and out of therapy for nearly 20 years. And while I have left doctors for a wide variety of reasons—I've moved, I felt better and "been better," I've given up on pharmacology and stopped taking meds—I've only had to fire one.

The reason? She was judgemental and disrespectful. In her office, I wasn't seen, heard or understood.

To help you understand the gravity of the situation, I should give you some context. In the spring of 2017, I was doing well and feeling good, at least for the most part. My family was healthy. I was happy, and life was more or less normal, so I stopped seeing my psychiatrist. I decided I didn't need my meds.

But by the summer, my mood was shifting. I was cycling (which occurs when bipolar patients vacillate between periods of mania and depression) and when I suffered a miscarriage that fall, I plunged into a deep depressive episode—one I knew I couldn't pull myself out of.

Keep Reading Show less
Photo from Dole
True

As you sit down to eat your breakfast in the morning or grab an afternoon snack, take a minute to consider your food, how it was made, and how it got to your plate.

The fruit on your plate were grown and picked on farms, then processed, packaged and sent to the grocery store where you bought them.

Sounds simple, right?

The truth is, that process is anything but simple and at every step in the journey to your plate, harm can be caused to the people who grow it, the communities that need it, and the planet we all call home.

For example, thousands of kids live in food deserts and areas where access to affordable and nutritious food is limited. Around the world, one in three children suffer from some form of malnutrition, and yet, up to 40% of food in the United States is never eaten.

Keep Reading Show less

I saw this poster today and I was going to just let it go, but then I kept feeling tugged to say something.

Melanie Cholish/Facebook

While this poster is great to bring attention to the issue of child trafficking, it is a "shocking" picture of a young girl tied up. It has that dark gritty feeling. I picture her in a basement tied to a dripping pipe.

While that sounds awful, it's important to know that trafficking children in the US is not all of that. I can't say it never is—I don't know. What I do know is most young trafficked children aren't sitting in a basement tied up. They have families, and someone—usually in their family—is trafficking them.

Keep Reading Show less
via Tania / Twitter

Therapy animals have become a controversial issue of recent, even though they've helped over 500,000 people overcome psychological and physical issues that have made it difficult to perform everyday tasks.

It's because countless people have tried to pass off their pets as service animals, making it hard for legitimate, trained animals to gain acceptance in public.

So when people hear about emotional support llamas, they're met with understandable cynicism. However, studies show they are great at helping children with autism spectrum disorder, and they are routinely used to cheer up people residents in retirement homes.

Keep Reading Show less