Jun 132024

Deep Dive: “Trauma-informed Photography”

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Trauma-informed photography is an opportunity to do better when working with people that have experienced trauma, and to acknowledge the emotional turmoil that can be drawn out in the photography process.

Speakers: Ryan Christopher Jones ACSW Tamara Knox Ed Ou

Moderators: Salgu Wissmath

Location: Online

Presented by:

  • Photoville
  • Diversify Photo

Supported by:

  • Leica Camera

What is the space between the photographer and the person they’re photographing? How can we better acknowledge their struggles and their history? Trauma-informed photography is an opportunity to do better when working with people that have experienced trauma, and to acknowledge the emotional turmoil that can be drawn out in the photography process. In this conversation, we will cover practical approaches and aspirational practices when it comes to working better with the people we photograph.

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

  • Ryan Christopher Jones

    Ryan Christopher Jones

    Ryan Christopher Jones is a Mexican-American photojournalist and PhD student in Social Anthropology at Harvard, where he is researching California water law, public/private access to water, and communities impacted by climate change in the California Delta. He will also continue to think and write about photography’s role in how we come to understand the environment. Ryan is a winner of the 2022 American Mosaic Journalism Prize.

  • ACSW Tamara Knox

    ACSW Tamara Knox

    Tamara M. Knox is a trauma-informed photographer and Associate Clinical Social Worker who was born in Fort Bragg, North Carolina. She has a BA in Photography and Visual Journalism from Sacramento City College and an MSW from California State University, Stanislaus.

    As a trauma-informed photographer, Tamara collaborates with her subjects to create empowered portraits that are responsive to their culture, gender, and history. She does this by prioritizing their comfort and safety, building trust, listening carefully, and responding to their ideas and preferences. At each session, Tamara creates a physically and emotionally safe environment by playing her subject’s preferred music and using their favorite color as the backdrop.

    In 2023, Tamara was awarded a Seeding Creativity grant from the City of Sacramento Office of Arts and Culture to create the exhibit and accompanying publication, Surviving to Thriving: Narratives of Community Thrivers Surviving Traumas.

    Tamara is the Director of Ethics and Social Responsibilities in Media at Ethical Narrative, merging journalistic expertise with the compassion of social work. Founded by professionals in both fields, their mission is to tell stories that resonate and foster positive change.

  • Ed Ou

Moderator Bios

  • Salgu Wissmath

    Salgu Wissmath

    Salgu Wissmath is a nonbinary Korean American photographer from Sacramento, CA. They are currently a Hearst Photo Fellow at the San Antonio Express-News, and previously worked at The San Francisco Chronicle. They are dedicated to decolonizing visual storytelling by engaging in ethical storytelling by and for people of color and the queer community. Their personal work explores the intersections of mental health, queer identity, and faith from a conceptual documentary approach.

    Salgu was recognized as AAJA’s 2022 Emerging Journalist of the Year and received the 2023 Curve Award for Emerging Journalists. They are a 2022 IWMF Gwen Ifill Fellow, a 2021 California Arts Council Emerging Artist Fellow, and a recipient of a 2021 Puffin Foundation Grant. Their work has been published in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, NPR, High Country News, Cal Matters, among others.

    Salgu is the Communications Director for Diversify Photo, a core team member with Ethical Narrative, and a member of AAJA, NLGJA, TJA, Women Photograph, and Authority Collective.

    Photo Credit: Kaitlin B. Owens


  • 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