Photojournalists on Instagram: a more inclusive list

Photojournalists are using Instagram as part of their professional practice. But too often lists of people to follow lack diversity.


I’m interested in how professional image makers use social media as part of their practice. People ask if photojournalism can survive in the age of Instagram and similar services. Yet for all the industry anxiety around Instagram, and for all the legitimate concern around its terms of servicemany photojournalists have accounts that stream quality pictures, demonstrating that photojournalism and Instagram are not necessarily inimical.

The other day I tweeted a link to an article by Kate Knibbs at Digital Trends that drew attention to seven of them working in conflict areas as a way of underscoring that point:

John Edwin Mason responded to that quickly and correctly with an important observation:

He raised a very important point – too often the pivotal dimensions of gender and race go unremarked, perhaps even unnoticed, in photography circles.

Zarina Holmes added:

And John then noted:

So let’s widen the appreciation (also beyond the conflict remit of the original list) to include those recommended by John and Zarina, and a couple of others from me, giving us (in alphabetical order) this list:

Lynsey Addario

Karim Ben Khelifa

Marcus Bleasdale

Michael Christopher Brown

Laura El-Tantawy


Glenna Gordon

David Guttenfelder

Ed Kashi

Teo Kaye

Teru Kuwayama

Melissa Lyttle

Ben Lowy

Phil Moore

Randy Olson

Ruddy Roye

Q. Sakamaki

It won’t be possible or desirable to come to a definitive record…as John said “there are so many.”

But this is surely a start on a better mix of diverse talents, although far from being fully comprehensive and inclusive.

Are their others who we should call particular attention to?

As I finished this post I caught up with another of John’s tweets:

Looking forward to that, and other, contributions in expanding the limited list that began this important discussion.

UPDATE 14 October 2013

John Edwin Mason’s post – 37 Instagram Photographers You Might Not Know (But Should Definitely Follow) – is up and its a beauty. He wants you to send suggestions for more photographers to follow too, and I will pass on any new ones mentioned here.

Photo credit: Stacy Kole, Retro Branding

12 replies on “Photojournalists on Instagram: a more inclusive list”

With so many instagrammers, I don’t think it’s possible to come up with (only) one list of the top photographers to follow – there would be lists for different audiences. But it’s great that this list is open to discussion, and to cast that the net of this list wider I’d like to suggest adding people like Nyani Quarmyne, Andrew Esiebo, Charlie Shoemaker, Dean Hutton.

Hey David,

Thanks for pointing that out. To be honest, this was a last minute weekend roundup that I threw together so we’d have something to go on the website. I should’ve put more effort into developing an inclusive list — and I’m so glad thoughtful readers are examining the problems of all white/ all male lists. I’ve been annoyed with lists of tech journalists that lock women out, so I’m pretty pissed at myself for selecting these photojournalists without looking for their equals of different races and genders.

While John Edwin Mason’s list does a lot to rectify prizing the white male gaze above all others, he doesn’t truly address the concept of privilege. Many of the photographers he mentions share educations and socioeconomic advantages far beyond those of many of their subjects or most instagrammers. Many have already found just as much critical acclaim as their white male counterparts. And, most jarring, at times there is also an element of photographing “the other” that isn’t diminished when the camera is an iphone. I am dying to see a list of artfully made instagram feeds created by artists who do not have the luxury of travel or MFAs, art borne from the reality of a road that can feel more like a dead end.

Agreed Christine – any suggestions?

This is clearly, as stated, far from a comprehensive list. Though I’m not sure we can say all those mentioned here are from a singular, dominant position.

I think it comes back to the age old saying, it isn’t the camera, its the person pressing the button.

Comments are closed.