Polly Irungu on creating black girls photographers

The Black Women Photographers platform was established in 2020 to create a community that empowers black women and non-binary photographers. Here Irungu discusses her motivations and the journey she has been on

Polly Irungu, from Nairobi, Kenya, moved to the United States when she was around four years old. In her senior years at school, she lived in Eugene, Oregon and bought her first camera with the money she made from her part-time job at McDonald's. Photography became a creative medium and she enjoyed meeting people and telling their stories.

Irungu stayed close for college and attended the University of Oregon on a scholarship where she studied journalism. Since then, she has tied her passions in photography, storytelling, and social media into all areas of her work and is currently the digital content editor at New York Public Radio (WYNC).

Above: Sabrina Sellers, Abobe: Esther Sweeney. All images from the Black Women Photographers Community

Last year, Irungu also ran Black Women Photographers, a global database and community launched by a Covid-19 relief fund that raised over $ 14,000 to fund black women and non-binary photographers during the pandemic support. The fund was launched on June 19, 2020 – a public holiday on June 19 to celebrate the emancipation of those enslaved in the US – and The Black Women Photographers community followed on July 7th. Initially around 100 photographers were part of the database; today there are over 600 people.

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