"We are experts in photography, not in inclusion, diversity or
equity," Pitts said. "But how we handle these things within
our jobs can have a direct impact on how our institutions are perceived."
Sharalle Arnold, associate director of the Gayle R. Davis Center for
Women and Gender Equity, said it's important to shift away from
marketing photos of students of color in stereotypical environments
such as Black male students pictured in sports settings.
"A photograph can disrupt stereotypes and make a person pause
and think differently about someone," Arnold said. "It also
supports a narrative that submits that we as Black women, for example,
are not a monolith. We are deep, complex, multitalented, multifaceted
and just as diverse as the skin tones that hug our bodies."
The position paper addresses photographing multiple dimensions of
diversity, including sexual orientation, religion, mental health and
disabilities. The authors suggested using subtle visual cues like
flags, pins and religious symbols within an image.
Jen Hsu-Bishop, director of the Milton E. Ford LGBT Resource Center,
said incorporating LGBTQIA+ visibility in marketing materials makes a
statement to current and prospective students and a university's employees.
"It can help make clear that inclusion and equity is everyone’s
work," Hsu-Bishop said. "It's important that students see
themselves represented in our marketing and communications materials
as they are, because who they are as real, whole people is wonderful
and of value."
UPAA president Glenn Carpenter, from Moraine Valley (Ill.) Community
College, said photography trends on campus have shifted toward
photojournalistic styles, as former photojournalists leave media
outlets for positions at colleges and universities. He hopes this
paper underscores the commitment university photographers have when
working to accomplish an institution's goals.
"Be real with your images. Your students will know when they
visit if you were honest about diversity. If you were not, they may
ask, 'What else was I mislead about,'" Carpenter said.