It’s the big open secret of the photography community: everyone does side work. Come and hear how different rockstar photographers subsidize and develop their careers with work that’s not just editorial photography.
Moderators: Tara Pixley
It’s a big open secret of the photography community: everyone does side work. Come hear how photographers Mengwen Cao, Carolyn Fong, and Idris Solomon subsidize and develop their careers with work that’s not just editorial photography in a conversation moderated by Tara Pixley.
Crafting Your Career is a web series to create pathways for freelancing visual storytellers to become successful in the photography industry. With workshops that talk about the art of the side hustle, creating collectives, and understanding contracts, these discussions and presentations from all-star and up-and-coming photographers are designed to guide members of our photographic community towards growth and success in their careers.
The workshops are especially geared towards BIPOC photographers, and are open to photographers anywhere in the world. We are here to support BIPOC and non-Western photographers to have successful careers.
Mengwen Cao (they/them) is a photographer, artist, and educator. Born and raised in China, they are currently based in New York.
As a queer immigrant, they use care and tenderness to explore spaces between race, gender, and cultural identity. As a board member of Authority Collective, they are championing diverse narratives and perspectives in the media industry.
Their projects have been featured in publications like Aperture, the New York Times, NPR, Mashable, BUST, Foreign Policy, the Guardian, Sina, and Tencent. They have participated in international exhibitions like Photoville, Jimei x Arles, and Lianzhou Foto Festival.
Cao graduated from the New Media Narratives and Documentary Practice program at the International Center of Photography. They received NLGJA’s Excellence in Photojournalism Award in 2019. They were recognized by The Lit List in 2018, PDN 30 New and Emerging Photographers to Watch in 2019, and World Press Photo 6×6 Asia Talent in 2020.
Carolyn Fong (she/her) is a commercial, editorial, and brand photographer working throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. She specializes in creating imagery that celebrates the craft, people, and spaces that create community — often but not always — with some food and drinks.
As an Asian-American woman, business owner, mother, and artist, she deeply believes that people deserve to be represented, seen, heard and valued. Whoever you love, however you self-identify, and whatever your race, cultural background, or abilities — Fong wants to work with you. Having been in many spaces throughout her life where she was the only Asian person, or POC, she knows how important representation is for BIPOC individuals in the visual media landscape. Behind the camera, Fong brings the full breadth of her life experiences and knowledge to every aspect of the creative process.
She knows first hand the meaning and the value of having BIPOC creatives at the table. She believes wholeheartedly that Black lives matter. She is committed to being anti-racist in her life and business.
With a degree from the ArtCenter College of Design and over 15 years of experience, she and her production team are ready to make your project a success.
Fong is also a proud member of Diversify Photo and Women Photograph.
Idris Solomon (he/him) is a visual artist with over 10 years of experience in the marketing, advertising, and entertainment industry.
In parallel, he uses photography to focus on stories that are overlooked within the African American community. He photographs dancers and gymnasts in Harlem, funeral homes in East New York, muralists in Bushwick, Black cowboys in Houston, athletes and eco challenges in Fiji, racing drones in France, and unit stills for television and movies. He also photographs his wife and son.
Solomon is the creative director and host of the Black Shutter Podcast, which gives Black photographers a platform to tell their own stories. Tune in.
Tara Pixley, Ph.D. (b. 1983) (she/her) is a queer, first generation Jamaican-American photographer, curator, and educator based in Los Angeles. She is an assistant professor of journalism at Loyola Marymount University. She was a 2021 IWMF NextGen Fellow, a 2020 awardee of the inaugural World Press Photo Solutions Visual Journalism Initiative, and a 2016 Visiting Knight Fellow at Harvard University’s Nieman Foundation for Journalism. Her writing and photography have appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, NPR, Newsweek, ProPublica, HuffPost, Nieman Reports, ESPN Magazine, CanonPro, and the Black Scholar, among many others. Her filmic and photographic work intersect with her scholarship and advocacy, each addressing the intersectionality of race, gender, class, visual rhetoric, and the potential for visual media to reimagine marginalized communities. She is on the board of stock photo co-op Stocksy United, and serves as secretary of the National Press Photographers Association (NPPA) board. She is also a co-founder and director of Authority Collective — an organization dedicated to establishing equity in visual media.
Diversify Photo is a community of BIPOC and non-western photographers, editors, and visual producers working to break with the predominantly colonial and patriarchal eye through which history and the mass media has seen and recorded the images of our time. Our international online database is used by editors at major media outlets seeking to diversify their rosters of visual storytellers. We also create networking, exhibiting, speaking, community-building, and resource-sharing opportunities for our members.
Photoville is a New York-based non-profit organization that works to promote a wider understanding and increased access to the art of photography and visual storytelling by producing a free annual festival, amplifying impactful narratives, and connecting artists to a wide global audience by activating accessible public spaces via large scale exhibitions.
Proudly devoted to cultivating strategic partnerships and creative collaborations with community spirit, UPI approaches its mission of cultivating a wide, diverse audience for powerful photographic narratives by working closely with visual artists, city agencies, nonprofit organizations and educators worldwide to create new exhibition and public art opportunities that showcase thought-provoking, challenging, and exceptional photography. For more information about Photoville visit, www.photoville.com