Jun 142024
11:00 am - 12:30 pm

Deep Dive: “Telling Long-term Stories”

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We all know the challenge: you have an idea for a long-term project, but what next?

Speakers: Maíra Erlich Brian L. Frank Smita Sharma

Moderators: Jon Cherry

Location: Online

Presented by:

  • Photoville
  • Diversify Photo

Supported by:

  • Leica Camera

We all know the challenge: you have an idea for a long-term project, but what next? In this step-by-step conversation, we will cover the many ways in which photographers take a long-term story from idea to completion… if a long-term project can ever even be complete. From working through assignments to looking for grants to building powerful proposals, we will discuss how to build a long-term photo project.

Diversify Photo and Photoville present Deep Dive, a series of professional development workshops supported by Leica Camera! Photography and photojournalism are forever evolving, and we are here to examine and celebrate approaches that go beyond the surface. These panel discussions will cover the intricacies of long-term story creation; the strategies for working better with communities that have experienced trauma; and the methodology behind journalism that focuses on solutions, not just problems.

Speaker Bios

  • Maíra Erlich

    Maíra Erlich

    Maíra Erlich (she/her) is a Brazilian documentary photographer and visual storyteller whose work focuses on social matters, human rights, family and culture. For eight years, she was dedicated to wedding photography. In 2023, she became a National Geographic Explorer with her project “Undermined: A Sinking City,” which seeks to shed light on the stories of those affected by the world’s largest ongoing mining disaster in an urban area, situated on the Northeast coast of Brazil. She is currently based in São Paulo and works as an independent photographer for international media outlets and organizations.

  • Brian L. Frank

    Brian L. Frank

    b. 1979

    A San Francisco native, Brian L. Frank has created social documentary projects across the Americas focusing on cultural identity, social inequality, violence, workers rights and the environment.

    Most recently, he co-founded the Tacet-Eye Long Form Documentary Workshop. His recent collaboration with For Freedoms and National Geographic documents faith in the California migrant worker community. He is a Professor of Journalism and a Catchlight Global-Fellow. His work with Catchlight, The Pulitzer Center and The Marshall Project has focused on mass incarceration’s effects on minority communities and visuals-based, education curriculum development.

    His 2-year project, Downstream, Death of the Colorado, is held in permanent collection at the United States Library of Congress and was recognized by POYi with the Global Vision Award. His work has been recognized with numerous other awards both nationally and internationally.

    Upon completing the Journalism program at SFSU, he worked primarily for The Wall Street Journal from 2008 – 2014 and currently focuses on long-term documentary magazine features in California, the American Southwest, and Mexico.

    His work has frequently appeared in most major national and international publications, including National Geographic, Rolling Stone, The New Yorker, Harpers, The Atlantic, Mother Jones, The New York Times and many other publications.

  • Smita Sharma

    Smita Sharma

    Smita Sharma is a Delhi based photojournalist who has documented social justice, sexual crimes, human trafficking, and environmental issues in the Global South through long-form visual narratives. Smita is a TED fellow, TED Speaker, and an IWMF reporting fellow. For “Stolen Lives”, her in-depth work documenting sex trafficking in India and Bangladesh for National Geographic Magazine, she received the Amnesty International Media Award and the Fetisov Journalism Award for Outstanding Investigative Reporting. Her work has been published in National Geographic Magazine, The Nature Conservancy, WSJ, TIME, BBC World, Human Rights Watch, and Die Zeit, amongst many others, and exhibited globally including at the UN Headquarters in New York. Smita is actively engaged in public speaking, victim advocacy, and international public education. Her book We Cry In Silence, documenting cross-border trafficking of underage girls in South Asia (FotoEvidence), received the Award of Excellence at POY International and the 2023 Lucie Photo Book Prize in the Independent Category.

    Photo credit: Dinesh Khanna

Moderator Bios

  • Jon Cherry

    Jon Cherry

    Jon Cherry is a Pulitzer Prize awarded American photojournalist whose work has spanned a wide range of photographic disciplines. His style has been described as deeply romantic, yet joyful. Born in Fort Liberty, North Carolina, Cherry now proudly calls himself a Kentuckian. Cherry aims to capture the spirit of America while developing his storytelling skill through analysis of the truths that define our time. Cherry can be labeled a generalist, reporting on topics from extremism and government to agriculture and conservation with the intention of blurring the lines between visual reportage and fine art photography.


  • Photoville


    Founded in 2011 in Brooklyn, NY, Photoville was built on the principles of addressing cultural equity and inclusion, which we are always striving for, by ensuring that the artists we exhibit are diverse in gender, class, and race.

    In pursuit of its mission, Photoville produces an annual, city-wide open air photography festival in New York City, a wide range of free educational community initiatives, and a nationwide program of public art exhibitions.

    By activating public spaces, amplifying visual storytellers, and creating unique and highly innovative exhibition and programming environments, we join the cause of nurturing a new lens of representation.

    Through creative partnerships with festivals, city agencies, and other nonprofit organizations, Photoville offers visual storytellers, educators, and students financial support, mentorship, and promotional & production resources, on a range of exhibition opportunities.

    For more information about Photoville visit,

  • Diversify Photo

    Diversify Photo

    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 media have recorded the images of our time.

This website was made possible thanks to the generous support and partnership of Photowings