Working towards a diverse future in photojournalism
Representation is one of the most important influences that can either inspire or discourage young people from pursuing a certain career.
According, to Career Explorer, Latinos only make up about 10% of professional photographers, while White photographers make up the biggest population, at 59%.
The lack of diversity can be disheartening. But it can also be a source of motivation. The absence of relatability can push Latino photographers to work hard to be the building blocks in increasing diversity in the field.
The 100th National Geographic Photo Camp was held at the Philadelphia Inquirer the week of July 22 - 26 with the goal of beginning to combat the underrepresentation of many Latino photographers and other photographers of color. The week-long camp focused on teaching students about photography, encouraging them to explore the world around them and to inspiring them to share their own stories through their lens.
The camp was made up of a total of eight students from around Philadelphia and Camden, NJ. Six out of eight students were Latino, including this reporter.
Kelvin Nuñez, a rising senior at Bishop Shanahan High School, took part in the photo camp. His interest in photography came from wanting to tell stories.
“I am a multidimensional storyteller. I love telling stories that matter in a sense that they have the ability to move our souls,” he said.
Nuñez understands the importance of diversity.
“It is immensely important that photographers of color be about. They can inspire other minorities and provide mentorship to others. Photographers of color are a need in our world,” the student said.
World Population Review states that by 2050 the population will have changed drastically from the demographics of the early 2020s: “47% of the population will be non-Hispanic Whites, 29% will be Hispanics, and 5% of the population will be of Asian descent. The black population will remain approximately the same in number from 2005, during which it made up 13% of the population.”
Times are changing and so should the increase of photographers of color. Diversity must rise and achieve what many see as impossible. Nuñez further explained, “Representation matters because we need to show children that you can become anything in this world.”
Nuñez stated that his experience in the camp gave him confidence to inspire others, to be an example that “people of color should never be underestimated or limited.”
As young people like Nuñez struggle to find role models that look like them, they find solace knowing that soon they will be the ones to inspire others.