Like many tech fields, the photography industry often favors men, with data suggesting female photographers earn 60 percent of what men in the field earn. Sony’s latest program, Alpha Female, aims to help close that gap, and the initiative just announced the first set of grant winners. On Wednesday, November 14, Sony announced five winners for the Alpha Female Creator-in-Residence Program contest. The 2018 winners and grant recipients are Megan Allen, Danielle Da Silva, Erin Hogue, Nitashia Johnson, and Colette Robinson.
The contest will award the five women a $25,000 six-month grant, along with $5,000 to spend on Sony gear. Sony is also pairing contest winners with an Artisans of Imagery mentor as part of the contest. More than 6,000 women entered the contest.
Allen is a wedding photographer based in Ohio. Her wedding photography favors bold imagery. She will be joined by Artisan of Imagery Sara France.
Founder of Photographers Without Borders, Da Silva is a storyteller, conservationist, and scholar. Her photography has been published in places like National Geographic, while she’s also won awards for her documentaries and short films. Cristina Mittermeier will work as her mentor.
Adventure photographer Hogue is an artist based in Vancouver. She captures extreme sports and adventures along with lifestyle imagery. Brooke Shaden will work with Hogue as a mentor.
Johnson is currently developing an arts program for high school teens. But when she’s not inspiring youth, she’s working as a portrait photographer and educator. Her mentor will be Me Ra Koh.
Robinson is a photographer as well as an artist working in stop-motion graphics. She’s based in Northern California. Caroline Jensen will work as her mentor.
“Women make up the majority of the U.S. and Canadian populations and yet are significantly under-represented in the professional imaging field,” Jennifer Geddy, head of digital marketing at Sony Electronics, said in a statement. “The Alpha Female initiative provides a pathway to empowering more women photographers and videographers through a combination of mentorship and financial support. Efforts such as the Alpha Female initiative help expand the industry’s pool of gifted and diverse creators and raise the bar for everyone. We are extremely excited to welcome our talented Alpha Female winners and look forward to collaborating with them.”
Along with the five grants, the Alpha Female initiative will also host several events focused on diversity in the industry.