World Photography Day: 5 Black Photographers Who Changed The Game

Photo: Getty Images

On August 19, photographers and lovers of great photos everywhere celebrate World Photography Day. The day was first celebrated in 1837 in recognition of the technical advancements that brought us the photography we have today.

In recognition of Black photographers who aim their cameras at our daily lives and our history-making moments, the Black Information Network is shining a spotlight on five Black photographers who made history, forever changing the game, one shot at a time. These are five geniuses working behind the lens, capturing moments in time, saved forever on film, some of our real-life game changers. 

From festivals and protests, our heroes and our joy, these are five Black photographers to celebrate on this day and beyond.

Gordon Parks

Gordon Parks is known for capturing the everyday life of Black people living in America. His work helped to humanize the struggles of Black people, by capturing the simple moments of Black lives worth a thousand words.

Coreen Simpson

Coreen Simpson is a New York-based photography who gained recognition for photographing Black celebrities in the 1970s. Simpson, a native of Brooklyn, also notably captured Harlem's bustling nightlife, with the photographer bringing mobile studios to clubs around the city.

Robert Abbott Sengstacke

Robert Abbott Sengstacke was a photojournalist, lawyer and founder of the legendary Chicago Defender newspaper. Sengstacke documented life during the Civil Rights Movement through photography. Some of his notable portraits include those of Martin Luther King, Jr. and other prominent movement figures.

Carrie Mae Weems

Carrie Mae Weems is a multi-media artist known for her Kitchen Table photo series from the 90s. The Syracuse, New York-based photographer explores racism, sexism, and oppression in her work.

Moneta Sleet Jr.

Moneta Sleet Jr. was a photography known for his work at the historic Ebony magazine. In 1969, Sleet won the Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography for his photo of Coretta Scott King attending her husband's funeral after his assassination.

So many more

Curious to learn more about other Black photographers? 

Check out more information on the historic Woodard’s Studio here. Info on how the Kamoinge Workshop got its start can be found here.

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