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Getty photographer Dia Dipasupil discusses the lack of diversity behind the camera lens

“In order for the entertainment industry to truly become a diverse and inclusive place, content creators everywhere — from businesses like Getty Images to individual storytellers — must challenge the status quo… Equally as important as illustrating all walks of life in the content that we create is that the content creators themselves are representative of our current diverse society,” said Getty Images VP of Global Entertainment Kirstin Benson.

NYFW breezed by this year and that’s cool… What’s not cool? The lack of diversity in photographers behind the camera lens.

You might have never noticed but Getty Images’ fashion and entertainment photographer, Dia Dipasupil, has picked up on the fact that the fashion industry still skews too white, too straight, and too male.

In 2017, 153 magazine covers from ten of the leading US fashion publications were shot mostly by men and only 13.7 percent of cover images were shot by women, according to a Fashionista Magazine review. Bureau of Labor stats also revealed, in 2017, that 82 percent of employed photographers are white.

“Why should the world be viewed primarily from the perspective of a straight white male?”

As a trans woman of color, Dia knows that it’s her duty to discuss the issue of this less-than-progressive representation in an industry that she has dedicated herself to for years.


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Photo by Ed Bosak

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We had to have an important electronic conversation about the lack of inclusivity behind the lens, why it is a problem, and a possible solution to getting more diverse photographers involved. Dia said,

“Employing photographers with diverse backgrounds to create imagery allows for a more authentic representation of our current society.”

Dia first picked up on the lack of inclusivity while doing a high fashion photo shoot for Getty, back in 2010. That day she would recognize real and notice that you can only create accurate imagery if the people behind the camera are also diverse.

It’s not fair to us (the BAME community and POCs). On numerous occasions and throughout history we have been misrepresented. Whether it be in fashion or in media, countless times our depictions have been skewed by a “white is right” type of imagery.

It’s important that non-white photographers are aware that they too can be successful in this industry. Dia gave a solution to getting more diverse photographers involved. She said,

“Role models and mentors! Many diverse aspiring photographers don’t realize that it is possible to work and be successful in this industry. Awareness is key. More role models showcasing that you can be a woman, of any ethnicity, or LGBTQ would potentially encourage tentative diverse photographers to pursue careers in the high fashion industry. Likewise, mentoring is also very valuable. Having someone, who shares a similar life experience as you to “show you the ropes” is incredibly empowering.”

Over email, Dia made an excellent point that “diversity attracts diversity.” This couldn’t be truer. She’s proud to work for a company like Getty Images because they are paying attention and taking action.

Diversity and inclusion are priorities at the photo-stock company. As a trans woman of color and working with Getty as a freelance contributor her gender race, and sexual orientation was never a problem.

Last year, Dia joined the company as a staff photographer. Since then she’s enjoyed seeing the inclusivity of the team as it has expanded with more women, and continues to work on diversifying the team. Just like the modeling industry, Dia feels there needs to progress made within the photographer population. She said,

“The use of all different types of models… plus size, various ethnicities, disabled, older, younger, and LGBTQ needs to continue and expand. It’s representative of the world we live in… Having diverse photographers behind the lens would also potentially elevate the comfort level for diverse models and who they work with.”

For future fashion weeks, Dia would love to see it get to a point where we’re not having diversity and inclusion discussions at all.

The goal is to arrive at a fashion week where diversity is so common that no one would question how there could have ever been a time when we wouldn’t be using a trans, disabled, or Muslim person as a model, photographer, or stylist.

Up and coming photographers looking to tap into the industry should take notice and realize that it’s time for a change. In order to avoid any obstacles, you might face on the come up, Dia ended our electronic conversation with some advice. She said,

“The industry can be very stressful. Try to keep a positive attitude and be kind. Always. That person you just met is probably fighting a battle you know nothing about. To quote Maya Angelo, “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”