World Photography Day 2022: Celebrating the impact of female photojournalists

We invite you to celebrate World Photography Day with us and get inspired by the work of four talented female photojournalists.

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To us, every day is World Photography Day. On a daily basis, the Zenfolio team strives to celebrate, educate, and inspire photographers through our platform and the collective experience of our community. Having said that, we know that not everyone lives and breathes photography as much as we do, which is why we’re so excited to talk about World Photo Day.

Shining a light on talented photographers, both established and new, World Photo Day takes everything that we love about photography and brings it to the forefront.

This day can serve to establish connections between various photographers who might otherwise not find each other. This is a day to celebrate your work as a photographer, be inspired creatively, and inspire others.

And so, with that in mind, today we want to ring in the start of World Photo Day by bringing some well-deserved attention to a handful of female photojournalists who have been recognized for their impactful work.

We hope you get inspired, create images you love, and don’t forget to share your work on Instagram with the hashtag #WorldPhotographyDay.

What is World Photography Day?

Running from August 19th to August 26th, 2022, the World Photography Day organization hosts a week-long celebration of all things photography. Encompassing everything from the technical aspects of photography to the more artistic elements, this day is guaranteed to inspire both aspiring and established photographers alike.

What is it all about?

World Photo Day is about more than just pretty photos. It aspires to bring together people of diverse cultural backgrounds, inspiring change and awareness through impactful photography.

The result is a mash-up of wide-ranging photo formats that showcase the messages of photographers worldwide as told through their various subjects, events, and landscapes.

What does World Photo Day stand for?

World Photo Day is all about making the world seem a little smaller. By collecting photo submissions and collaborating with photographers representing countries and cultures worldwide, they share them in the hope that these experiences will resonate with viewers. In other words, World Photo Day allows photographers to share and connect their world with the world.

What does World Photo Day celebrate?

Not too shockingly, World Photo Day celebrates photography. Having said that, World Photo Day is about more than just sharing pretty pictures. It is about bringing people together and celebrating our differences through stunning visuals captured by the world’s most talented photographers. The aim here is to inspire positive change.

How did World Photography Day start?

World Photo Day was founded in 1991 by photographer OP Sharma, but the origins of World Photo Day can be traced much further back, all the way to 1837 in France.

It was during this time that the daguerreotype—the first ever photographic process— was invented by Louis Daguerre.

The daguerreotype worked by capturing a positive image on a copper plate coated in silver iodide. Images were produced with the use of mercury vapor and were then treated with a salt solution.

While most current photographic processes have changed significantly, it was the first sign of photography as we know it. It wasn’t until August 19th, 1839 that the French government purchased the patent for the device, making photography available to the world; hence why August 19th was chosen as World Photography Day.

The French government also deemed photography to be a “gift to the world.” Today, photography continues to give the gift of connection, empathy, and broaden each other’s experiences of the modern world as we know it.

Photojournalism and our photography

Photojournalism marries the traditional photographic process with journalism. It is the study of news stories through images.

As most of us have heard, a picture is worth a thousand words, meaning one singular photo can convey the same idea you might read about in a full news article. If you’ve spent time studying photojournalism and the work it has produced, this probably won’t surprise you.

With everything from shedding light on the impacts of war to sharing people’s personal stories through heart-wrenching photos, photojournalism does more than just share an image, it conveys a message and provides the public with insight they might otherwise never be faced with.

For instance, the average person might not truly grasp the impact that war can have on the public, but when shown an image of a town after a bombing, where civilians are left injured and fighting for their lives, we are given a stronger and more impactful insight into what it means to go to war.

Without photojournalism, we might read about these tragedies, but we would likely never fully grasp the idea. All of this to say: Photojournalism changes the way we view the world. It shapes narratives and provides necessary insight into the world’s reality.

Women and Photojournalism

Photojournalism is a photography specialization that has great potential to open people’s eyes, and to convey important messages that can become lost in a sea of words.

This is why the celebration of World Photo Day is so important. Not only is it the celebration of photographers and their ability to capture visually beautiful images, but it is also a celebration of positive change.

We are excited to share impactful photography from a handful of talented female photojournalists. These female photographers have earned awards for their emotive images, chosen out of thousands of submissions to represent everything that photojournalism is all about—impactful work, a strong message, storytelling, and stunning visuals that capture people’s attention.

Each woman has displayed tremendous talent in her ability to capture a story and share it on a world stage. We hope you enjoy these works just as much as we did.

World Press Photo of The Year Winner

Amber Bracken: Kamloops Residential School, Canada

Dedicated to shining light on the issues affecting North American Indigenous people, Amber Bracken is a Canadian photojournalist with a strong message, creative eye, and talent for capturing raw emotion.

She channels this talent into her work for various respected clients including National Geographic, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal. Today she works freelance throughout North America from her hometown of Edmonton, Alberta. Staying close to her own “backyard,” Bracken focuses on the way global and local issues correspond.

With an extensive portfolio of poignant images, Bracken was awarded the 2022 World Photo of The Year for her piece Kamloops Residential School.

Haunting and impactful, her photograph commemorates the tragic loss of the Indian children who attended the Kamloops Residential School in British Columbia.

World Press Photo Open Format Award

Isadora Romero: Blood is a Seed, Ecuador

Isadora Romero’s work in her winning piece Blood is a Seed is the perfect example of storytelling at play in photojournalism. Weaving her own personal history in with her work produces a visual essay that is not only impactful for its emotion and beauty, but also for its personal connection to the photographer and her family.

Exploring the stories of her grandparents, this journey into personal history also helps the photographer connect to world issues like colonization, the loss of ancestral knowledge, and forced migration.

Based in Quito, Ecuador, Romero also co-founded the Ruda Colectiva, a collective of Latin American woman and non-binary photographers. She is dedicated to the exploration of ideas relating to gender, the environment, and human identity through her work.

Anja Niedringhaus Courage in Photojournalism Award Winner

Paula Bronstein

In its eighth year, the 2022 Anja Niedringhaus Courage in Photojournalism Award was bestowed upon Paula Bronstein for her impactful body of work.

With a portfolio that extends four decades long, Bronstein has addressed countless crises and important issues, but she is specifically being recognized this year for highlighting the 2021 Taliban takeover in Afghanistan, the impact of war on the elderly in Ukraine, and the challenges faced by the Rohingya from Myanmar to Bangladesh.

It is Bronstein’s desire to put a spotlight on these difficult topics, urging the public to see and experience the tragedies that are going on all over the world at any given moment.

Sensitive to the situations she is covering, her work doesn’t exploit people or their experiences. Instead, she aims to educate, elicit emotion, engage, and inspire people to take action through her visuals.

Remembering Sumy Sadurni

A photographer known for capturing the essence of East Africa.

Photojournalists not only capture important moments in history, but they can also capture the essence of a time and place, and that is exactly what Sumy Sadurni did during her time as a photographer.

Tragically killed in a car accident at the young age of 32, this Spanish-Mexican photographer will always be remembered for her ability to capture the full East African experience. From the rampant conflict and charged protests to the impact of climate change on its vast landscapes, Sadurni excelled at passionately representing life within the communities she visited.

With her body of work featured everywhere from The New York Times to The Wall Street Journal, Sadurni’s work lives on and reminds us just how precious life can be.

Header photo by Annie Spratt

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