Native - New Agency Launched For Visual Storytellers From Africa And Latin America

Native agency has just been officially launched as a documentary photography agency for visual storytellers from the regions of Africa and Latin America. 

Conceived in Medellín (Colombia) by Federico Ríos Escobar and in Amsterdam (The Netherlands) by Laura Beltrán Villamizar, Native agency wants to empower, educate, connect, and support visual journalists from Africa and Latin America.

Lujan Agusti / Native Agency 



The agency was born from evident lack of representation of non-European/North American photojournalists and documentary makers in the industry. In a recent World Press Photo report, 1556 photographers were surveyed on the state of news photography. The results were proof of the need of a more balanced representation of visual storytellers: nearly 65% of the respondents originated from Europe and North America, and only 15% were women. 

Native Agency proudly presents its first five storytellers: 

  • Federico Ríos Escobar (Colombia)
  • Joâo Castellano (Brazil)
  • Emilia Lloret (Ecuador)
  • Tamara Merino (Chile)
  • Lujan Agusti (Argentina) 

Co-Founder Laura Beltrán Villamizar reflects: 
“Storytellers and mostly female ones outside of Europe and The U.S. are woefully under represented. Mostly, they don't have the means, education or contacts to create a proper personal voice and use it to edit and pitch visual stories successfully. I feel it is my responsibility as a female photo editor from Latin America to be proactive about encouraging diversity.” 

Laura continues: 
“At the core of our mission is a deep commitment to excellence in visual journalism and documentary. We aim to give local photographers a platform and deliver high-quality visual stories.  We seek to empower, educate, connect, and support through collaborations with media organisations, NGOs, and other agencies.”

Storytellers who want to join the agency can apply through the agency’s website:

Storytellers ought to:

  • Be from Latin America or Africa and ought to have already an established voice and body of work.
  • Have proven experience in delivering high-quality pieces.
  • Have substantial knowledge of the subject or region they will be covering.
  • Work on personal stories but with a clear journalistic background. 
  • Face difficulties editing, communicating or marketing their work to a global audience.
  • Stories can be told through video or stills and do not have to be sent in as a last edit. Native is happy to work with storytellers under the guidance of editors. Guidance will also be given on areas such as captioning, submitting stories for grants and making finals edits for different platforms: social media, print, online, and exhibitions. The agency also offers single portfolio reviews for photographers from outside The U.S and Europe. For portfolio enquiries contact us at:  

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. 

For further enquiries and interviews please send an email to