Native Agency Starts Representing African Talent and Welcomes Seven New Visual Storytellers

Native to start working, representing and mentoring African photojournalists and documentary makers from 2017 on.

 Eman Helal / Native Agency

Eman Helal / Native Agency

The up-and-coming agency, conceived in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, and Medellin, Colombia, proudly announces its new roster of young and talented visual storytellers from underrepresented regions of the African continent. 

As a reaction to the industry’s lack of urgency in diversifying newsrooms and coverage of global stories, Native agency is set up to scout, represent and mentor photographers and documentary makers from unexposed areas of the southern hemisphere, as well as connect them to a global audience. 

Now focusing on Africa, a continent with scattered talent and mostly western coverage, Native presents the following visual storytellers as part of its newly expanded portfolio: 

  • Biko Wesa (Kenya)
  • Cynthia Matonhodze  (Zimbabwe)
  • Esther Ruth Mbabazi  (Uganda)
  • Miora Rajaonary  (Madagascar)
  • Eman Helal (Egypt)

Welcoming representation from Peru and Mexico, the agency celebrates Yael Martínez (Mexico) and Musuk Nolte (Peru) as new members from 2017 onwards. This completes the Native family, as the team will now focus on its protégés and on collaborations with NGO’s, media outlets and other businesses. 

Laura Beltrán Villamizar, co-founder and curator reflects: 
“Part of Native’s mission is to support and build a community of local photojournalists around the globe. It proudly celebrates eight female and five male talented documentary makers and photojournalists now in its roster, which will contribute to the agency’s top priority to fight gender-inequality and lack of diversity within this biased industry.”

She continues: 
“Racism, ageism and sexism in the media are closely related to lack of international, interracial and intercultural representation. Also, the lack of well-established publications in Africa, combined with the minimal efforts from those big in the industry to mentor storytellers in Africa, makes finding African talent not only a priority but our duty as players in the media business.” 

Cynthia Matonhodze from Zimbabwe comments on joining Native: 
“I think Native is uniquely placed to not only nurture, but also to connect both male and female local photographers to a global audience. This is important because the world needs to consume a diverse representation of visual voices.” 

She continues: 
“In the past, local photographers, mostly from developing countries that often make global news, were never considered to cover assignments in their native land. But because of budget cuts, there has been a shift in this practice and slowly more and more local photographers are gaining visibility – and therein lies Native’s role. Achieving this will take a continued effort towards supplying the world with emerging voices from underrepresented parts of the globe.”

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About Laura Beltrán Villamizar:
Laura is an independent photography editor and curator born in Bogotá, Colombia. Before working as editor and communicator at World Press Photo, she worked as associate photo editor for Revolve Magazine where she oversaw long-term features, international commissions for print and online, and curated the magazine’s emphasis on visual storytelling. Her life mission has always been to curate, promote and support the work of up and coming visual journalists with a clear story to tell. She’s a storyteller, but also a story-doer.

About Federico Ríos Escobar:
Federico is a Colombian documentary photographer focusing on social issues in Latin America. He has over 10 years experience as a photojournalist. His work is regularly featured in international media and publications. In 2012 he published the photo book, "The Path of the Condor," and in 2013 he published the book "Fiestas de San Pacho, Quibdo". He participated in the XXVII Eddie Adams Workshop. New York / 2014. Photography Violence and Society in Latin America. El Salvador / 2012. 
He is a member of the curatorial committee of @everydaymacondo Instagram projects. 

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