How one woman is putting the spotlight on her Latin American photo peers

From the series “Migrations.” (María Fernanda García)
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For many years, Verónica Sanchis Bencomo has felt that the Latin American continent was too often portrayed by foreigners — photographers who parachute to the continent when news breaks or who have made the continent their home — and too often, by men. “I wanted to change that,” she said.

Launched in January 2015, Foto Féminas is an online platform promoting through monthly online features the works of female photographers in Latin America and the Caribbean. “In each feature I select one photographer, one body of work,” said Sanchis Bencomo, a photographer herself and the founder of Foto Féminas. “I also conduct an artist conversation over Skype, in the hope the photographer can provide more details about her works.” To date, Foto Féminas has featured 36 photographers from 14 different countries.

Sanchis Bencomo sees her role as promoting coverage of underrepresented communities, but also contributing to a better understanding of our world and breaking stereotypes. “I think it is vital to learn about local female photographers, whose personal works are not easily found in the mainstream media,” she said. “They often spend longer periods of time with their subjects and stories and, so, are able to provide insights not seen from outsiders and different even to what their local male counterparts would get.”

Plus, she believes that the platform can also help the featured photographers themselves.

“It is important to offer a sense of community in our industry. Photography is often a lonely practice,” she said. “For instance, there are nowadays many female photography platforms, such as Women Photograph, Firecracker and International Women’s Media Foundation, that each play different roles but which all contribute toward a more gender-equal representation of not only the storytellers, but their subjects, too.”

After three years, Foto Féminas has branched out of the online world. It has put on shows at photography festivals in Guatemala, Ecuador, Argentina and even China, and the organization hopes to publish a book as well. But for Sanchis Bencomo, discovering new bodies of work, such as Joana Toro’s “Hello I am Hello Kitty or Paola Paredes’s “Unveiled,” remains the central focus.

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