News + Features

On Our Radar: 9 Black Photographers Catching Our Eye

June 17, 2022

By Jacqueline Tobin

Photos © Tiffany Sutton

In honor of Juneteenth 2022, we take pause to acknowledge the incredible talent behind so many of the Black photographers in our industry today. While there are far too many to acknowledge in just one post, these 9 are on our radar right now. Some we have known for awhile; others we are just discovering and can’t get enough of their IG feeds. Check all of them out below:

Rukie Jumah
There’s so much that is wonderful about Rukie Jumah’s imagery; we’ve never felt so alive and vibrant! Her compositions are filled with color and passion and…well, just look for yourself!

Polly Irungu
The founder of Black Women Photographers—a formal network of professionals specifically geared for Black women and non-binary photographers—is a powerhouse. Earlier this year she was acknowledged as one of “9 Women Activists Dedicated to Supporting Women” by Global Citizen. We first reported on the photographer and journalist’s efforts in 2021. She told us that she launched Black Women Photographers after the spread of COVID-19. “I didn’t want to reinvent the wheel, but I saw a gap,” says Irungu. We applaud her!

Black Women Photographers founder Polly Irungu.
Photos © Polly Irungu

Tiffany J. Sutton
We first started becoming familiar with Tiffany J. Sutton‘s work after discovering her on Irungu’s Black Women Photographers network. Sutton—who says she uses multiple exposures as a way to talk about the complexity of Black women in their minds, spirit and personality—was one of 12 recipients to be awarded part of a Black Women Photographers’ and Nikon grant on the occasion of the community’s first anniversary. The biggest grant, for $10,000, went to Sutton who, at the time, proposed traveling to Iceland to take photographs of Black women born and raised in the northern European country. Since then, she’s done just that.

Stanlo Photography
We loved Stanlo Photography’s Stanley Babb when he became on of our 30 Rising Stars in 2020, and we are still loving his work today. When we first met him he was averaging 50 weddings a year and building a powerhouse of a brand in a very short amount of time. Just two years later and he is still moving full steam ahead!

Audrey Woulard
Audrey Woulard is a Nikon Ambassador, WPPI speaker and print comp judge, and an incredibly motivated educator and photographer known for her impactful teen portraits and Kids in the City studio in Chicago.

We asked Audrey what Juneteenth means to her and how she would be acknowledging it this year. Here’s what she had to say: “It’s a time to celebrate freedom and liberation. It celebrates love, peace and joy amongst black people. I think it is wonderful that the Juneteenth is finally a federal holiday. For about two to three years prior to it being declared a national holiday, my husband and some of his friends were part of a group that tried to get Juneteenth recognized as a national day of celebration. It is really great to see this has come true and Juneteenth 2022 marks the 2nd year of the day as a federal holiday.”

For Juneteenth 2022, Woulard says she and her husband will go to his parents’ house for “some really really good soul food. I am looking forward to having some greens and black eyed peas. Then my husband and I will be going out with some friends later in the day to a fabulous rooftop cinema to watch Black Panther on the rooftop in Downtown Chicago. After that, we will probably find an outdoor lounge to enjoy some drinks for the rest of the night.” Can we come with?!

Creative Soul Photography
After years photographing a number of Black kids whose hair had been straightened in order to get hired for jobs, Regis and Kahran Bethencout decided in 2013 to focus on the natural beauty and creativity of kids—letting them be who they are. They are so creative, so inspiring and, beyond us mere mortals, have many a celebrity gushing over their images and their photo books. When we first wrote about them last year they told us: “We want to teach kids at an early age that they are born beautiful.” It’s that simple yet their imagery is anything but.

Brad Ogbonna
This photographer started out by aiming his lens on stories that had yet to be told with subjects who were often overlooked. He was named one of PDN’s 30 in 2018 and we’ve been hooked on his work ever since.

Elizabeth Austin Davis
Named a Rangefinder 30 Rising Star of Wedding Photography in 2019, Elizabeth Austin Davis captured our hearts while photographing mostly film at her weddings, of underrepresented communities of color and mixed cultures. “I showcase their love on film in a luxury approach,” she told us at the time. Almost three years later, we are still obsessing over her work!

Dana Scruggs
We love everything about Dana Scruggs‘ editorial work and she has achieved so many firsts in her career over the years. She will always be on our radar!

Here’s to celebrating the incredible talent of Black photographers in the industry today, and to Juneteenth 2022.