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‘I’ve fought hard to be seen’: Meet The Narwhal’s 2022 BIPOC photojournalism fellows
katherine cheng, ryan wilkes
Sep 28, 2022
Location: Toronto, Canada
Ryan Wilkes and Katherine Cheng both found themselves behind the lens as photojournalists in somewhat unexpected ways.

In 2019, Ryan was about to enter the world of research as his PhD in biomedical engineering came to a close in New Zealand, when he realized that picking up a camera would help scientists have a better impact on the world. And working deep in the nonprofit sector, Katherine was visiting her family in Hong Kong when she watched tensions rise from a coffee shop that same year — and decided to document it.

Fast-forward to 2022, when they were both selected for The Narwhal’s photojournalism fellowship, designed to support emerging photographers who are Black, Indigenous or people of colour.The opportunity was created in partnership with Room Up Front — made possible by The Reader’s Digest Foundation and the generosity of our readers — to change the dominant whiteness of Canadian media and photojournalism. The Narwhal often tells stories about resource extraction, environmental racism and degradation that disproportionately affect racialized communities. We wanted to ensure that these stories were also being told by racialized journalists.

Want a little teaser on how Ryan and Katherine are changing the coverage of the natural world in Canada? Ryan’s working on a cool project on the essence of the natural world in sound, and how one composer is advocating to preserve earth’s last remaining quiet spaces. And Katherine is hoping that we don’t look at proposed highways in Ontario just from a bird’s eye view, but zoom in on how development projects affect the province’s natural world and communities on the ground.

Here are the two fellows on what stories compel them and what turned each of them into a photojournalist. (Just look slightly to the left, keep your chin up, read what Ryan and Katherine have to say — and smile!)

To read more, please visit:

Katherine KY Cheng

Katherine Cheng is a documentary photographer and videojournalist based between Toronto and Hong Kong, covering breaking news, daily events, and feature stories.
Website via Visura

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