How to diversify portfolios is a topic that comes up frequently in photography groups on Facebook. It generally looks something like this: “I want to start photographing gay weddings but don’t have any gay clients… what do I do?” or “I need make my portfolio less white/straight… should I do a model call?” A few of those conversations have resulted in white people getting called out for tokenizing members of marginalized communities and, frequently, those who were called out responded with mild (or not so mild) outrage and wondered how to get away from their straight white client base if they can’t do model calls for LGBTQ2S+ folks or POC to expand their portfolios.
There is very limited information regarding tokenism as it pertains to fine arts generally and photography portfolio building specifically. This article is an attempt to compile the information I did find and present it in a way that is applicable to the photography industry. It might seem straightforward and obvious to some, but I think it is needed