I can still remember the little girl from Kansas City who loved to draw, color, paint, and take pictures. I knew I wanted to do something creative when I grew up. I continued to create, my parents signed me up for 4-H, my first camera was a little Kodak film camera. My parents upgraded my camera each Christmas. I remember making a shoebox camera in high school, and for the first time learning to develop film. I majored in Advertising, with a minor in Electronic Studio (Graphic Design) at Howard University. I took Photography as an elective. I started my career in graphic design for newspapers: Gannett, Stars & Stripes, The Washington Post, USA Today...I was still taking pictures because I loved it. I discovered that visual storytelling is my passion, and I discovered my purpose. I love to connect with people, and to tell those stories of marginalized people and issues — the "hidden figures".
Cheriss May is a lauded portrait and editorial photographer based in Washington, D.C. She is the president of Women Photojournalists of Washington (WPOW), co-chair of the photography committee at The National Press Club, an Adobe Education Leader, and an adjunct professor at Howard University, her alma mater. As an education leader, she is often commissioned to speak about inclusive storytelling, and she trains and speaks to educators across the country.
Cheriss has been published in O Magazine, The White House Historical Association, The New York Times, Bloomberg, Time, ABC News, The Today Show, MSNBC, and other international publications. Her work is featured in a permanent exhibit: MFON's “In Conversation: Visual Meditations on Black Masculinity”, at the African American Museum in Philadelphia.
Originally from Kansas City, Mo., Cheriss is an independent photographer based in Washington, D.C. Her passion radiates through her aptitude to connect to the soul of those she photographs. Cheriss is available for commissions, projects, and assignments.
MEMBER: President — Women Photojournalists of Washington (WPOW), The Authority Collective, Diversify Photo, Women Photograph, National Press Photographers Association (NPPA), National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ), Co-chair Photo Committee — National Press Club (NPC), White House News Photographers Association (WHNPA), White House Press Pool, Press Photographers’ Gallery — U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, The Exposure Group, Professional Photographers of America (PPA), Sistagraphy