Mfon: Women Photographers of the African Diaspora

Mfon: Women Photographers of the African Diaspora is an exclusive and commemorative bi-annual journal committed to establishing and representing a collective voice of women photographers of African descent. The inaugural issue of Mfon features 100 women photographers across the Diaspora. This iconic issue  features an introduction by Dr. Deborah Willis, MacArthur Fellow and Chair of the Department of Photography & Imaging at the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University.  It includes conversations and essays written by women scholars, journalists and artists.  Subsequent issues of Mfon will feature photographic essays of four or five photographers with in depth interviews and essays that will contextualize the works.

Mfon is founded by award winning documentary photographer, Laylah Amatullah Barrayn and critically acclaimed, award winning visual artist, Adama Delphine Fawundu with the goal of creating awareness of the impact that women photographers of African descent have in the world. They are joined by Emmy award winning producer and Mfon’s deputy editor, Crystal Whaley.

In keeping with the idea of “my sister’s keeper,” the journal is named in memory of Mmekutmfon ‘Mfon’ Essien (1967 – 2001) a sharp-witted, visionary photographer who exhibited at the Senegalese Biennale in Dakar, Senegal and received an honorable mention in the American Photo magazine annual survey of the nation’s best photographers. She passed away from breast cancer the day before her series “The Amazon’s New Clothes” was exhibited at the Brooklyn Museum of Art as part of the critically acclaimed exhibition “Committed to the Image: Contemporary Black Photographers.”

The objectives of Mfon: Women Photographers of the African Diaspora are to:

a. Promote an international representative voice of women photographers of African descent.

b.  Fill a void while creating a space for intellectual discourse around issues represented by women photographers of African descent.

c.  Create a powerful collective of women photographers, journalists, and scholars to build their practi
ces through solid representation of their voices within the field of photography.

d. Creation and establishment of the ‘Mfon Legacy Grant’ which will be awarded to emerging Black Women photographers of African descent.

e. Subsequent issues of Mfon will be published bi-annually and feature women photographers of African descent as well as highlight the work of Mfon Legacy Grantees.


The Mfon Legacy Grant
The Mfon Legacy Grant will be awarded annually to a woman photographer of African descent who has demonstrated a commitment to exceptional image-making in the spirit of Mfon’s body of work.

Through a no-fee application process, the recipient will be selected by a jury of photographers, curators and editors. In addition to the grant, the winner will be granted a feature story in the Mfon journal. Guidelines will be posted shortly.

The application will in open fall 2017.