22 of the Best Black Photographers You Need to Know

Black History Month allows us to reflect. Along with photography, many fields and societies can ponder the stories of black communities around the world. For over a decade, The Phoblographer has had the honor of featuring some of the best black photographers in our industry. From street photography to portraiture, documentary to editorial, we’ve featured all types of genres and photographic stories coming from the black gaze.

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The Street Photography of C. Stephen Hurst

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All images by C. Stephen Hurst. Used with permission.

If you think about some of the best places for street photography, New York City automatically comes up on the list. For years now C. Stephen Hurst has been shooting street. Besides his wedding photography, you can probably argue that his best work is done on the streets or in public. His fashion on the subway work was extremely popular with readers, and it’s a post that I still go back to look at in earnest.

But more than that, Stephen finds ways to document NYC in its most raw, real format and pays attention to the things that most others just walk past.

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C. Stephen Hurst: Fashion Photography on the NYC Subways

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All images by C. Stephen Hurst. Used with permission.

“The real turning point though was when I was diagnosed with cancer.” says C. Stephen Hurst about how he got into photography. I accepted the possibility that the lymphoma would kill me but I couldn’t accept that my work as photographer, and not a painter, would end.” Indeed, when you’re on a deadline like this, you try to do as much as you can in the time that you have left.

C. Stephen Hurst is a photographer based in Brooklyn, NY and instructs at ICP. Luckily, he’s a cancer survivor and can go about creating some of the most inspiring work that I’ve seen so far this year. Part of this stems from the fact that he’s a former painter. While he shoots weddings, some of this work includes his fashion shoots on the NYC subways.

“Usually I’ll time the ride several times and then base my calculations of setting up, shooting, and breaking down on the average time between those stops.” says Stephen. “It evolved out of a desire to shoot during winter in a free ‘non studio’ space. NYC at any time has a wonderful abundance of models to collaborate with but none of them are as unique, unpredictable, or iconic as the streets/subways/random people (and animals) of our great Metropolis.”

This specific body of his work is about documenting worlds as they collide.

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