How PICHA is boosting Africa’s visual diversity with stock imagery

In 2016, Gabonese-French photographer, Josiane Faubert (@itsme_josiane) was sourcing African images online for her brother’s recruiting firm based in Libreville, Gabon, when she noticed a wide gap in the diversity of imagery of Africa.

Although she had struggled to find modern, diverse images of black people as a social media manager, this particular task gave her more insights into the extent of the problem.

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Searching through online visual libraries, Faubert discovered plenty of images showing rural communities and under-development. But those photographs weren’t fully representative of the Africa that she knew. What was missing?

The contemporary, urban Africa, connected to the global culture and economy.

Faubert decided to fill the niche herself. That year she founded PICHA—which means “image” in Swahili—a specialized stock library of Afrocentric photographs showing the diversity of modern and contemporary African lifestyle, culture, business, food, arts and travel among others.

“Representation and diversity matters. The visibility and voices of Africans including people of the diaspora must be equally represented visually,” says Josiane who currently lives in Seattle, WA yet operates the business in Sub Saharan Africa, “We want to use African stock imagery to correct misconceptions and stereotypes of Africa by showing the world the diversity, beauty and modern life of the continent. We have the Melanin Modern collection showcasing contemporary African businesswomen, for businesses to use and promote inclusion.”

With the social purpose of improving the visual diversity of Africans, Picha Stock is working together with photographers and creatives from across the continent to create visual content for telling stories and communicating to audiences.

“There are a lot of amazing African photographers and content creators who want to monetize their creative works and create sustainable livelihoods. PICHA created the stock marketplace for individuals and businesses looking for modern, contemporary images for storytelling,” acknowledged Faubert.

*This article was written by Henry Derben, business development manager at PICHA with additional writing and quotes by Yaw Tollo


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