Diversity in Visual Storytelling

Diversity in Visual Storytelling

Presented by Leica Women Foto Project

Explore the unique visual dialogues of our esteemed Leica Women Foto Project 2019 awardees, Debi Cornwall, Yana Paskova and Eva Woolridge, in a multi-dimensional conversation covering topics from gender parity in visual storytelling to the value of a personal project. Distinct with their own creative style, each photographer will share the meaning behind their winning series along with how today’s current climate has impacted their own photographic journey.

Hosted by Photoville’s Co-Founder and 2x Leica Women Foto Project Juror, Laura Roumanos.

Please make sure to also check out corresponding exhibition Leica Women Foto Project.

Our Online Talks are proudly supported by our partners PhotoWings with additional contribution by the Phillip and Edith Leonian Foundation.


Debi Cornwall

Debi is a conceptual documentary artist who returned to visual expression in 2014, after a twelve-year career as a civil-rights lawyer. Marrying dark humor and empathy with structural critique, she employs photographs, video, testimony, and other materials to examine American state-created realities in the post-9/11 era. In addition to the inaugural Leica Women Foto Project Award, Debi was recently honored with a NYSCA/NYFA Fellowship in Photography, shortlisted for the W. Eugene Smith Fund Grant, and the Tim Hetherington Trust Visionary Award.

Her work has been profiled in Art in America Magazine, the British Journal of Photography, European Photography Magazine, and Hyperallergic, among many others. Her first book, Welcome to Camp America: Inside Guantánamo Bay (Radius, 2017), was named among the year’s top-ten photo books by The New York Times Magazine.

Eva Woolridge (she/her)

Eva is a Black-American/Chinese-American photographer residing in Brooklyn, New York. Her photo series explore the sexual, spiritual, and emotional nature of femininity. In her work she transcends surface-level labels of people of color by conveying strength, perseverance, vulnerability, and vitality using strong lighting and composition.

Upon graduating from the University of Maryland, College Park, Woolridge completed her second social-consciousness narrative called Embrace Your Essence. Produced in 2015, the series focused on young women’s journeys toward self-love—defining what they find beautiful about themselves. Many of the narratives included illnesses, challenges to meet Western standards of beauty, and quirks that once negatively affected their self-esteem. In 2019, Woolridge became a recipient of the Leica Women in Foto Award for her series The Size of a Grapefruit, a visual narrative based on Eva’s traumatic medical event, which highlights the emotional stages from before, during, and after her ovarian cyst surgery. Her objective is to address the accounts of her surgery, micro-aggressions, and medical negligence Black women experience during emergencies–as well as the often outdated information available for women’s reproductive health.

Her work is featured in Rolling Stone, Teen Vogue, Ubikwist Magazine, BOMB Magazine, and she is currently on the Diversity Advisory Council for Fuji Cameras of North America. Expanding beyond photography, Woolridge is an active public speaker and social activist who has spoken on panels for the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, and TEDxMaplewood. She currently leads workshops with Leica Akademie and Skillshare, to end the racial disparities found in the photography industry. Woolridge continues to use visual narratives to convey a tone of a new, inclusive wave of feminine energy through her gaze as a queer woman of color, while commenting on the social and cultural conditions of her communities.

Yana Paskova

Yana is a Bulgaria-born, Chicago-bred, Brooklyn-based photojournalist and writer, driven by her passion for creative visuals, science, music, climate change, politics, the written word, architecture, anthropology, and the true sense of equality. She aims to create imagery that uniquely combines style with meaning–whether in a historic context or just beyond the surface of mundanity. Furthermore, as a political asylum immigrant to U.S. shores, she cares to help bridge human understanding of one another through the work she does as a female, in a male-dominated industry behind the camera, to how women live in the world in front of it.

Her camera dictates her geography on both assigned and personal work for National Geographic, The Washington Post, The New York Times, Getty, NPR, and others. Yana has received awards from PDN, NPPA, and American Photo, and she has received grants from the Pulitzer Center, the International Women’s Media Foundation, Getty/Panasonic, and Leica. She has exhibited work at the International Center of Photography, Photoville, Leica, and Bulgaria’s National Gallery of Art. She has also taught journalism courses at the Pulitzer Center, Brooklyn Public Library, New York University, and Fordham University.ustry.



The shape of a story is reactive to the storyteller’s perspective, developing a narrative that too often is reflective of individual truths. These narratives influence thoughts, conversations and actions of individuals and communities alike, indicative of the urgent need to expand opportunities to amplify underrepresented voices in photography. The Leica Women Foto Project, a platform created by Leica Camera USA, encourages diversity and inclusion in visual storytelling, bringing to light the breadth of shapes formed by a single story.

The mission of the Leica Women Foto Project is to encourage photographers to demonstrate the importance and impact of the female point of view. The award serves as a catalyst to reframe how we see, how we think, and how we express our visual narrative.

Leica Women Foto Project Award will grant three photographers $10,000 each to help complete an in-progress, personal photo project, expressed through the female point of view. In addition to the financial award, each winner will receive a Leica Q2, to further support the completion of the personal project. Applications will be reviewed by a jury of nine renowned figures in the world of photography, including: Karin Rehn-Kaufmann, Elizabeth Avedon, Sheila Pree Bright, Amanda de Cadenet, Lynn Johnson, Elizabeth Krist, Laura Roumanos, Maggie Steber, and Sandra Stevenson, and judged on the quality of photography, sophistication of project, and a dedication to the medium of photography.

Candidates for the award must be legal U.S. residents and are requested to submit a series of ten images, four of which must have been made between the years 2019 and 2020, from an in-progress project expressed through the female perspective. The submission can be made through any digital or film camera of any make, model, or brand. The work in progress must cover a topic related to current cultural and social conversations. Alongside the images, applicants are required to submit a written statement about the personal project, its relevance in today’s cultural climate, project timeline, and a detail of how the funds will be used.

Submissions for the Leica Women Foto Project Award will be accepted from August 26, 2020 to October 8, 2020. Winners will be announced on January 18, 2021. Application and full Terms & Conditions can be found here.