Our Herstory

Early Photography

More than a century and a half ago, Jules Lion, a Parisian of part African-American descent, introduced the daguerreotype, an early form of photographic print, to the world. Within a few years, the first African-American photographers emerged. By 1920, the United States Census Bureau’s statistics identified 608 black photographers of whom 101 were women.

Started in 1993….

Sistagraphy Members, 1995

Sistagraphy Members, 1995

Flash forward to 1993, when an informal group of female photographers of African-American descent gathered together in Atlanta, Georgia to discuss ways to creatively express themselves through the photographic arts. A democratic collective was later formed and named “Sistagraphy”. The term combines “sista“ with “graphy” and means love for each other and gratitude for the photographic medium as a means of expression.

From the outset, the goal of Sistagraphy has been to provide a forum for black women photographers to examine the contemporary and historical issues that affect our society through the photographic medium. As the only known collective of this kind, Sistagraphy holds a unique place in the history of photography in the United States. Sistagraphy has over 50 exhibitions since its inception in 1993.

Sistagraphy has exhibited widely, including the City of Atlanta, Bureau of Cultural Affairs Chastain Gallery, the Hammonds House Galleries and Resource Center, the Contemporary, the Atlanta Fulton Public Library (Downtown, Buckhead, Sandy Springs), Spelman College, Georgia Perimeter College and the Mason Murer Gallery in Atlanta, Georgia; Bryn Mawr University, Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania; Cleveland State University, Cleveland Ohio; Salem College; Winston-Salem, North Carolina; Converse College, Spartanburg, South Carolina and Rush Arts Gallery in New York City, New York.

Sistagraphy's First Hammonds House Exhibit in 1997, "Gyrations"

Sistagraphy’s First Hammonds House Exhibit in 1997, “Gyrations”

Sistagraphy Members at the Hammonds House 20th Anniversary Exhibit, 2013

Sistagraphy Members at the Hammonds House 20th Anniversary Exhibit, 2013

Based in Atlanta, Sistagraphy has maintained a continuous membership, ranging in ages from 19 – 70 plus, with members living in California, Ohio, New York, Delaware and Pennsylvania.  The multifaceted artistic visions of the women who are a part of this photographic art collective included accomplished professionals as well as novice. In the tradition of the African village, Sistagraphy mentoring environment dictates that those more experienced reach out to newer inexperienced members.

Sistagraphy members merge portraiture, documentary, digital and mixed media with playfulness and innovation contributing a unique voice to the broader dialog surrounding fine art photography. Click here to contact us and get more information about the organization.

Mission: Sistagraphy exists to give emerging and established photographers opportunities to exhibit their photography through local and national venues and to make a positive difference in the lives of the artists and the community it serves.

Vision: Sistagraphy provides a sisterhood for women to bond and to share their own perspectives, making personal and social commentaries using their camera lenses, and exhibiting their photographs for the world to view.


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