DC Photojournalist Speaks on First Lady Portrait and Why to Hire Diverse Storytellers
Black History Month Change Makers — D.C. photographer Cheriss May’s work centers on politics and protest. From photographing first lady Jill Biden to covering the uprisings of 2020 to escaping violence at the Capitol, the Howard graduate and professor tells why she’s living in her purpose.
Vice News Interview
I talk about covering The March on Washington, 57 years later still marching for some of the same things and the hope for change. Also, knowing Chad Boseman as my next door neighbor and an image I created of him is part of a permanent exhibit called: "In Conversation: Visual Meditations on Black Masculinity" at The African American Museum in Philadelphia.
Selected as a judge for POY 2021
Pictures of the Year International, the oldest and most prestigious photojournalism program and competition in the world, this year is the 78th competition. POY, a program of the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute at the Missouri School of Journalism, recognizes the best photojournalism, online presentation and visual editing created or published in 2020.
The International Center of Photography Lecture
"We are pleased to announce the winter/spring season of our photographer lecture series, ICP Talks. Join us online for four one-hour lectures featuring inspiring photographers who champion social change through photography, use innovative practices that expand the form, and critically engage with the role of images in visual culture today.
The season includes photojournalist Cheriss May on documenting democracy"
Click for more into/to register
The season includes photojournalist Cheriss May on documenting democracy"
Click for more into/to register
Artist of the Year — St. Teresa's Academy
I was selected "Artist of the Year" by my high school, St. Teresa's Academy. Commissioned to capture the dedication of the new St. Teresa of Avila statue, a 3500 pound marble statue created in Italy. The statue replaces a statue of the patron Saint Joseph which stood at the entrance of the campus since 1903.
Photo of President Siabhan May-Washington, by Cheriss May
The New York Times Food Insecurity Story
Over the course of a few months, I spent time with the Capital Area Food Bank, Kingdom Fellowship A.M.E. Church, Rainbow Family Christian Center, Urban Outreach Inc., the Humane Rescue Alliance and the numerous volunteers who have been working to help address food insecurity in the Washington metropolitan area.
Leica - Her Legacy Blog Feature
TELL YOUR STORY. Look at what’s important to you, and your community.. Find your passion… know your purpose and tell your story. I’ll never forget this advice one of my mentors Fred Watkins gave me — If you see all the photographers going one direction, go another way, your story will always be different from everyone else’s.
Mini-Doc: SCNR News
Black Journalists on the Frontlines of Protests Against Police Brutality | SCNR
Following the death of George Floyd, who was killed by a police office in Minneapolis, MN, protests in regards to police brutality and race relations broke out in all 50 states. As these protests continued throughout the summer, SCNR shadowed three Black journalists in three different U.S. cities and asked them what unique challenges they face in their coverage of civil unrest and race relations.
The Power of Visual Storytelling
"There is power in story. Join photographer @cherissmay & me next week on @CreativeLive TV as we record our podcast live! Cheriss is the president of @wpowdc, an @adobe Education Leader, @HowardU Prof & Alum + an overall powerhouse!"
— Kenna Klosterman
Adobe for Education Panel
Live interactive panel, "Preparing Students for a Changing World with Emerging Technologies", moderated by Tacy Trowbridge, Head of Adobe for Education programs and policy. Featured panelists include: Cheriss May, Howard University, Lisa Gottfried, New Tech High School, and Stephen Marshall, East Tennessee State University.
Leica Camera Commissioned Talk - Photoville
"The Gravity of Inclusive Storytelling: A conversation with Cheriss May" at Photoville.
The PHOTOVILLE Festival, New York City’s FREE premier photo destination, returns for a ninth year in a different way – online community and artist programming plus photo exhibitions in public spaces throughout New York City.
This annual community gathering features public exhibitions, virtual online storytelling events, artist talks, workshops, demonstrations, educational programs, and community programming.
The Photoville Festival provides an accessible venue for photographers and audiences from every walk of life to engage with each other, and experience thought-provoking photography from across the globe – with free admission for all!
CHERISS MAY: BEYOND THE PROTEST
Photographer and educator Cheriss May shares her experiences covering the intersectionality of race, politics, and protest, in the wake of the national reckoning on racial injustice. May will then be joined by CCP Director, Anne Breckenridge Barrett, for conversation and virtual Q&A with the audience.
Commissioned by Spotify to give an inspirational talk on inclusive storytelling.
NYT Portraits of Families in Protest
"Cheriss May, a freelance photojournalist in Washington, D.C., was heartbroken when she heard how her young relatives were processing the news of George Floyd’s death. But when her cousin, their father, J. Jioni Palmer, organized a protest for families to attend together, it became a teachable moment. First, J. Jioni and his son Middleton, 8, marched from their home to a busy intersection, holding signs that read: “A Man Was Lynched.” The next day, Palmer’s wife, Ashli, and their other son, Caldwell, 5, joined. Cheriss picked up her camera and began documenting her family. By the third day, more than 20 people had joined — and within a week, there was a crowd of 60, many of whom were children."
Reporting While Black: Covering Election 2020
Panel discussion with Shaquille Brewster, NBC News, Milton Coleman, Howard University Hearst visiting professor, Michelle Johnson, Boston University, Cheriss May, Photographer & educator, and moderator Ingrid Sturgis, Howard University!
Speaker — "Remember the Time: Photography In The Movement"
Speaker at Adcolor's annual conference Sept. 8-10, 2020. Theme: “Here For It”. It’s about showing up, being present, continuing the fight and striving for progress. "Join ADCOLOR & 250+ speakers as we ignite conversations about diversity & inclusion in the creative industries."
Focus on the Story Board of Directors
"We're thrilled to announce that Cheriss May has joined the Focus on the Story board of directors! She's a mainstay in Washington, DC photography circles, serving as president of the
WPOW: Women Photojournalists of Washington, covering this year's uprising, with her work appearing in the New York Times and carried by Reuters, teaching at Howard University and appearing as a frequent podcast and webinar guest, including during this year's Focus on the Story International Photo Festival, and recently at the Photoville festival. We're looking forward to having her help us take our festival to the next level."
Photo Contest Judge
Afrotographers' 2020 March on Washington Photo Competition
Top Photo of the Day and Photo of the Week
My first assignment with Reuters to cover the White House on August 2, 2020, which meant going out to Trump National Golf Club in Sterling Virginia, there were protestors and supporters at the entrance of the club. My picture of a protestor in a Grim Reaper costume holding a sign with the number 152K to represent the number of victims of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the U.S., was selected as a "Top Photo of the Day".
Guest Speaker — School of the New York Times
Zoom presentation I conducted for a photojournalism class, on my work and career as a photojournalist.
BET Social Justice Campaign ‘Content for Change’
Three of my images were selected for BET's social justice initiative PSA that first aired during the 2020 BET Awards. “The initiative is being carried out by BET and various corporations, civil rights groups, and social justice organizations with the intent to positively impact social justice outcomes for Black Americans. It will support the creation, distribution, marketing, and promotion of content aimed at ending systemic racism in America in areas such as education, healthcare, civic participation, and economic empowerment.”
The Pieces We Are
My image was selected for this virtual gallery.
After a month of no work, this self portrait was taken after coming back from my first assignment since the global coronavirus pandemic. I felt so uninspired, and uncertain about my future.
Adobe Meeting - Photo Presentation
A slideshow with my photos was presented at the beginning of an Adobe employee meeting. Shantanu Narayen, Adobe CEO, presented it during a reflection of the present moment of protests, and uprisings that are happening across the country.
Documenting a National Reckoning on Race and Justice
Powerful discussion with Black photographers and photo editors who share their experiences covering a historic reckoning on race and justice and why doing so carries the weight of the generations that came before them.
As millions take to the streets to protest racism, police brutality and a system that suppresses the voices of Black Americans and people of color, it has put a spotlight on the role of the photographers documenting this historic reckoning.
Today Show Story
A story I pitched which was published by The New York Times on family protest, made it to The Today Show, with a slideshow of my photos, and interviews with the families that I featured.
Admitn’ It Podcast — Episode 18: Homecoming at an HBCU
"In this week's episode, Netty and D get the opportunity to interview a photographer/ photojournalist/ Howard alumni and dope human Cheriss May. They gain more insight on what photos mean to her, what it’s like being a photographer, and we even get to hear funny stories about Netty at Howard's Homecoming. You don’t want to miss this episode."
Episode 10 - Say it Loud
"Tune in to hear Washington DC based photojournalist and professor, Cheriss May, discuss her time photographing politics as a Black woman. She also speaks on her experiences as both a student and professor at Howard University and the importance of having that community. I've never had a Black photography professor. Never had a Black graphic design professor either. I remember sitting in classes at ICP and hearing instructors speak high praise about all of their favorite photographers and none of them looked like me. I was angered, confused and inspired. Knowing that Cheriss May is a professor and is able to share her thoughts, inspiration and real world experience with students who resemble her is amazing. Make sure you tune in. Peace!" — Idris Solomon, Black Shutter Podcast
The Candid Frame — Episode 518
"Ibarionex Perello, Idris Talib Solomon, and Cheriss May are three of the finest creators in photojournalism and documentary photography today. Even if you're not a photographer, please take the time to listen to this episode."
Reporters On The Frontlines During Two Pandemics
"Two major issues are taking place in America at the same time: Protests in the streets demanding changes to policing in America and the Coronavirus crisis. Reporters are out there, on the frontlines, covering it all while trying to stay safe and keep a balanced perspective."
Reporting While Black: Journalists on the Front Lines
"Black journalists oftentimes have to live in two worlds when it comes to covering controversial stories on race. As journalism faculty who have all served as working journalists, we want to provide an opportunity for candid conversations with media professionals covering George Floyd's death and subsequent protests."
Philadelphia Tribune Interview
“In Conversation: Visual Meditations on Black Masculinity” is a two-gallery exhibition of photography that explores the construct of Black masculinity, through the lenses of 55 women and non-binary photographers of African descent. Photographer Cheriss May is one of the women involved in the project. Thank you to the curators of the exhibit: Laylah Amatullah Barrayn and Adama Delphine Fawundu.
Motivation Monday: Using visual storytelling to impact the world
"WASHINGTON (ABC7) — Passionate about history, culture, and storytelling through photography, visual journalist and educator Cheriss May has captured many historical moments. She joined us on the big yellow couch to share her passion for photography."
Photos Featured on 'The Chew'
Chef Carla Hall shared photos I took at the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art's Awards Gala on the show.
Focus on the Story — Virtual International Photo Festival 2020
Panel to talk about photographers' rights, options for those who want to use social media but don’t want to give up control of their images. Panelists: Louis J. Levy, a DC attorney who specializes in copyright and trademark issues, Thomas Maddrey, general counsel for the American Society of Media Photographers, Cheriss May, president of the Women Photojournalists of Washington (WPOW), and Allen Murabayashi, co-founder of PhotoShelter.
'Tension' - Artist Talk
Closing reception for Click DC, artist talk that examines the relationship between Tension, Life, and Art. Featuring: Kirth Bobb, Kanayo Adibe, Dee Dwyer and Cheriss May. Moderated by Mollie Q. Coleman of High Caliber Events.
Howard University Magazine Profile
"When she was a kid back in Kansas City, Missouri, with her Kodak camera, she would take pictures everywhere she went. Her parents were very encouraging of her and would upgrade her camera, motivating her to take photography classes in high school and eventually when she came to Howard University."
The Stories and Lives of Women, Told in Women’s Voices
Female photographers document the stories and lives of women.
11th Annual Juried Show at FotoWeekDC, this year’s competition was judged by Diàna Markosian, Jenn Poggi and Maggie Steber. The exhibition displays the work of many women in photojournalism in the Washington metropolitan area.
Howard University To Be Present At Adobe Worldwide Sales Conference
"Howard University has been selected to attend the Adobe Worldwide Sales Conference this December in Las Vegas. Howard will be the only historically Black college or university at the conference, joining the University of California, Berkeley and University of North Carolina. Representing Howard will be award-winning photojournalist and digital design adjunct professor, Cheriss May, along with two students – senior Sydne Barard and sophomore Kiara Hardy. The conference will include leaders in industries of photography, video production, documentary filmmaking and storytelling."
AIGA DC — Nonbook Book Club
Guest of AIGA DC for an online monthly chat series through Slack covering design and diversity.
Guest - Impact the World Radio Show
Invited to speak on Cheryl Wood's radio show: "Impact the World" about my experience as a photographer.
Speaker - 108th NAACP Annual Convention
Commissioned to speak about my time and experience covering the Obamas at The White House as a press photographer, at the 108th NAACP Annual Convention, Arts and Entertainment Day.
"Arts and Entertainment Day is a daylong series of conversations on the power and impact of the arts and entertainment industry. Produced by the NAACP Hollywood Bureau, the purpose of the forum is to help audiences better understand the entertainment industry and learn how to leverage arts and entertainment as a tool for activism and advocacy. The series of topics will engage, entertain and enlighten those attending the NAACP 108th Annual Convention."