Through leading seminars, curating panels, and consulting services, Women Picturing Revolution (WPR) co-creators Lesly Deschler Canossi and Zoraida Lopez-Diago are reclaiming and retelling history in a manner that is both radical and necessary. By highlighting the work of female photographers who have documented conflicts, crises, and revolution in private realms and public spaces, WPR sheds light on personal and political experiences that are often overlooked or underrepresented. From fine art photography made as a response to forced silence, oppression, and the inability to act, to well-known visual journalists documenting upheaval, Lesly and Zoraida, along with WPR participants, examine not only the photographs but also the conditions under which women make images. Through a better understanding of how women document resilience, resistance, and creative survival, WPR hopes to propel all of us towards progress.
Lesly Deschler Canossi is faculty at the International Center of Photography (ICP) and co-creator of Women Picturing Revolution. She holds an MFA in Photography from Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) and has taught at the Lamar Dodd School of Art in Cortona, Italy, the Maryland Institute College of Art, Columbia University’s Institute for Research in African-American Studies, the Bronx Documentary Center and the Harlem School of the Arts. She created Navigating the Domestic: Mother As Artist and in 2014, her book Domestic Negotiations was published by ICP Edu. Outside of the classroom, Lesly works with photographers developing long term projects and is the owner of Fiber Ink Studio a print + drum scan lab established in 2010. Lesly is currently investigating the confidence gap while photographing girls age nine to eleven; the age at which American girls peak in confidence.
Zoraida Lopez-Diago is a photographer, curator, consultant, and co-creator of Women Picturing Revolution. She studied political science at Trinity College and Fine Arts at Hunter College. Her work has been exhibited at institutions including Rush Arts, New York and the Paul Baldwell Gallery in Medellin, Colombia and published in Of Note Magazine, Good Magazine, World Policy Institute Journal, El Diario, and Democracy Now. In 2011, Zoraida documented women serving sentences at Pedregal, a maximum-security prison in Medellin, Colombia and returned in 2013 to continue her work. In 2014, she co-curated Women as Witness, an exhibition revealing how women across the globe document survival, and in 2015, Zoraida was the assistant curator of Picturing Black Girlhood, a photography exhibition highlighting important contributions of Black girls in the US. Zoraida is currently photographing children of undocumented farmers in upstate New York.
CLASSES & EVENTS
May 24, 2018
Women Picturing Revolution at B&H for International Women's Week
Weaving in the UN 2019 theme of “Think Equal, Build Smart, Innovate for Change” WPR look into how female photographers forge paths to progress exploring visual journalists and lens-based artists translate social and political conditions that impact women and girls into potent and effective imagery.
May 24, 2018
Women Picturing Revolution in conversation with photographer Lola Flash
Lola Flash and WPR examine the role photography plays in documenting LGBTQ communities in both public and personal spaces at BAXTER ST / Camera Club of New York.
December 1, 2020
Tate Modern, London
Fast Forward: How Do Women Work
Women Picturing Revolution presented a paper on the forthcoming book Representation of Black Motherhood & Photography
October 27, 2018
Women Picturing Revolution: One Day Seminar at the ICP School
A one-day seminar that surveyed female photographers who have documented war, conflicts, crises, and revolution in private realms and public spaces. Visiting curator Yukiko Yamagata, Acting Interim Director for the Open Society Foundations Documentary Photography Project and visiting artist, Magnum photographer Diana Markosian.
September 9, 2017
Women Picturing Revolution in conversation with Catherine Morris, co-organizer of We Wanted a Revolution: Black Radical Women, 1965–85, Brooklyn Museum
A conversation on how photography proposes acts of everyday resistance in connection with race, invisibility, mothering, and art at the Lightfield Photography Festival, Hudson, NY
March 11, 2017
Women Picturing Revolution: Focus on Africa and the African-Diaspora
One Day Seminar at Columbia University Institute for Research in African-American Studies (IRAAS). This seminar included in-person artist talks with Nona Faustine and Ayana V. Jackson. Click here for more info.
October 24, 2017
Women Picturing Revolution presents a survey of female photographers who have documented war, conflicts, crises, and revolution in private realms and public spaces with an emphasis on interactive media.
Maryland College of Art (MICA) Graduate Photographic and the Electronic Media Studies Program
April 21, 2017
Interview with L. Jonathan Collier of Black Perspectives
Published interview with Black Perspectives, the leading online platform for public scholarship on global black thought, history, and culture. Click here to read.
Image credit Saskia Kahn, Lightfield Photo Festival
March 6, 2017
Interview with Humble Arts Foundation co-founder Jon Feinstein
Published interview on Humble Arts Foundation blog discussing upcoming seminar at Columbia University and what's in store for Women Picturing Revolution. Click here to read.
Image credit @Spiritharvest
January 21, 2017
Women's March Instagram Guest Contributor
November 16, 2016
Women Picturing Revolution Panel Discussion at the International Center of Photography
This panel, with Donna De Cesare, Tanya Habjouqa, and Muriel Hasbun, moderated by Grace Aneiza Ali, was created by WPR founders by Lesly Deschler Canossi and Zoraida Lopez-Diago. View the recording of this event.
November 5, 2016
Women Picturing Revolution: One Day Seminar at the ICP School
A one-day seminar that surveyed female photographers who have documented war, conflicts, crises, and revolution in private realms and public spaces. This seminar included an artist talk which connected our class with Laura Doggett of Another Kind of Girl and Khaldiya, a Syrian girl who made a film about her life in the Za’atari refugee camp. The seminar also included an artist talk with photographer Sheila Pree Bright and a special screening of her film 1960Now.
July 21, 2016
Interview with the International Center of Photography (ICP)
Published interview in the International Center of Photography's Fall Catalogue discussing upcoming ICP seminar and panel. Click here to read and learn more.
Image: Nydia Blas
Artist: Nydia Blas from her series The Girls Who Spun Gold
CALL CLOSED: Women Picturing Revolution is pleased to announce a call for papers on the topic of Representations of Black Motherhood and Photography
The forthcoming book published by Leuven University Press and distributed by Cornell University, Another Way of Knowing Representations of Black Motherhood and Photography, will curate both essays and photographs on Black motherhood. Contemporary books on motherhood and photography often lack attention paid to Black mothers. When the topic of Black motherhood is examined in academic scholarship, it often does not address a crucial missing component - visual representation and analysis of the Black mother in pictures. This edited collection gives voice to the intersection of photography, Black motherhood, and the ways in which Black mothers have navigated gender, race, and class.
Photography is the overriding language of visual literacy and global communication. And images, now more than ever, serve as the way in which meanings are created and transmitted. In our visually saturated age, how is it possible that this gap exists? Why does it exist? What are the implications of this void? What role, if any, does social media play as tools for survival and protection? How are Black mothers using self-portraiture to re-write the self?
By widening the lens of motherhood to include work made about and made by Black women and mothers while simultaneously examining the interlocking systems of race, gender, and class oppression affecting Black mothers, Representations of Black Motherhood and Photography disrupts overriding narratives of Black mothers in our social discourse and creates space for this important junction to occupy this terrain.
We invite essays on, yet not limited to, the following topics:
Archetypes of Black Motherhood in pictures
Photography for or made by Black Mothers
Rewriting the self: self-portraiture through photography
Visually speaking: Black Mothers as artists
Black Motherhood, love and joy
Documenting the relationship between Black Mothers and family life
The role of photo album in family archives
Queer Black Motherhood
Black Motherhood collectives
Black Motherhood, everyday protest
Raising Black children in America
Black Motherhood and pop culture
Black Motherhood, digital photographic collections, and communities: formulating, participating and social tagging
Social Media as tools for survival and protection
Everyday image: memory, place and everyday life
Photo Diary/Social Media/Photostreams as narratives
Meaning of freedom
Consuming photographic images of Black mothers
Histories of state violence
Legacies of slavery
Lost mother: the impact of incarcerated Black Mothers
Black birthing and the importance of black midwives, doulas and birthing caregivers
Relationships between Black Motherhood, maternal mortality, medicine, and justice
Black Mothers and sexual agency
Black mothers, breastfeeding and public spaces
Black Mothers and self-care
Submission Guidelines: Submissions are due Monday, October 7, 2019. Proposals should be sent as a PDF to and should include a 250-300 word abstract, title, author's name, address, telephone number, email address and affiliation. Please include a 200 word biographical statement and a full CV.
While the editors will make a curated selection of photographic images based as a response from the call to papers, authors who incorporate an analysis of photography as part of the work are highly encouraged to submit.
We will confirm the receipt of proposals. Acceptance announcements will be emailed in two weeks after the submission deadline. For questions please contact or visit for more information.
WPR is available for consultancy services, seminars, lectures, panel discussions, and presentations.
Please contact us at