While the Lit List also seeks nominations—from industry leaders as well as photographers—there’s also an open call on Instagram. From the submissions, a diverse set of jurors were asked to choose 90 percent artists of color; they included white women photographers, as well, recognizing that they, too, face obstacles within photography. Finally, the jurors were asked to be considerate of the factors that might have stunted the nominees’ career trajectories—such as a lack of monetary support, sponsorship, and mentorship—and instead consider their potential for success. “We didn’t want to create an award that perpetuates the same sort of conventions that other awards do,” Koren said.
Diversity is also “keenly important” to PDN, Stuart Hughes told Artsy via email. This past year, PDN has had conversations about expanding its list of nominators in hopes of garnering a more inclusive set of submissions. Additionally, the publication has taken steps toward making its monthly content more inclusive, such as inviting photographers of color to be contributing writers. (For the latest issue, for example, Koren wrote an article on the lack of mentorship available to marginalized photographers.)
Stuart Hughes also noted the value that organizations such as Authority Collective, Diversify Photo, Women Photograph, and more add to the industry. “They’re valuable not only because they champion diverse photographers,” she said, “but because they get the people involved in selecting and nominating photographers excited about seeking out and supporting diverse talents.”
Since the release of the Lit List in August, the inaugural photographers have garnered much-deserved recognition. The list was sponsored by Format, Wonderful Machine, Mastin Labs, Artifact Uprising, and Moment, and it was covered by the Humble Arts Foundation and PDN
’s “Photo of the Day.” The honorees also exhibited at Photoville, the annual photography festival
in Brooklyn, New York; the exhibition was later mentioned in the New York Times
. And, according to Wise, Diversify Photo is working on a discussion and exhibition for PDN’s PhotoPlus Expo