Request for Qualifications (RFQ)
Studio Photographer for the 40th Annual Black Doll Show


Assessed based on photographer’s experience


Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs


Oct 23, 2020 - 5:00 pm




All materials should be emailed to the WGSAC Director, Ami Motevalli at

If you have questions about the application or the application process, please email Ami Motevalli at

Project Overview

The William Grant Still Arts Center (WGSAC), a City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA) Arts and Cultural Center, supported by the Friends of William Grant Still Arts Center (FoWGSAC) seeks a qualified and skilled studio photographer and photo editor for the 40th Annual Black Doll Show retrospective. The photographer would be responsible for staging, capturing, and editing publication quality photographs of art objects including dolls, doll collections, installations, plus related accessories, as well as doll artists and collectors for the Black Doll Show.


In addition to extensive experience with photographing art objects, the ideal candidate will be an object photographer with knowledge of the Los Angeles Black Arts Movement and California Assemblage Movement. This project will commemorate the significance and longevity of the WGSAC’s Annual Black Doll Show. Through a chronology of images, the retrospective will illuminate the significance and longevity of the WGSAC’s Annual Black Doll Show, its impact on the community, and its resonance within a broader and wide-reaching critical discourse on Black dolls.


The chosen studio photographer will report to the William Grant Still Arts Center Director, Ami Motevalli. The position requires the ability to work collaboratively with our community.


About the William Grant Still Arts Center

Founded in 1977, the William Grant Still Arts Center was established with the leadership efforts of Councilmember David Cunningham in collaboration with the local West Adams community. The William Grant Still Arts Center is a City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA) Arts and Culture Center. WGSAC offers creative workshops, music and art classes for adults and young people, an exhibition space, concerts, a place for community meetings, and a gathering place for the neighborhood.


The work of the WGSAC focuses on recurring programs that have evolved into long-standing community traditions that serve local needs at the intersection of hands-on art instruction which is, along with the preservation and transmission of West Adams’ cultural history, one of the most historically and creatively significant African-American communities in Los Angeles.


About the Black Doll Show

The Black Doll Show at the William Grant Still Arts Center was started in the 1980s by the Friends of William Grant Still Arts Center, with contemporary artist and curator Cecil Fergerson (1931-2013) as its first curator. It was inspired by a doll test conducted by Mamie and Kenneth Clark in the 1940s. The tests concluded that due to social stigmas, many African-American children preferred white dolls over black dolls. This test went on to become evidence in civil rights lawsuits. The Clarks became expert witnesses in Brown vs. Board of Education, contributing to the landmark decision to desegregate schools. This doll test was conducted again in 2006, by 17-year-old filmmaker Kiri Davis, sadly with the same results.


Positive self-image remains just as necessary today for all people of color in the African diaspora. The WGSAC has been a platform to showcase the ongoing traditions and diversity of doll-making; practices which can be traced back to African doll-making traditions prior to the period of enslavement in the Americas. The Black Doll Show is informed by the Community Arts and Assemblage Arts movements of the 1960s, 1970s and 80s. The WGSAC Black Doll Show is one of the City of Los Angeles’ longest-running annual exhibitions and is also one of the longest-running Black Doll Exhibitions in the United States. This year, 2020, marks the 40th anniversary of the show.



– The photographer will supply publication quality photos for use on the WGSAC website, social media, and in printed media. The work product will include edited, high resolution images.



– Meetings between the studio photographer and WGSAC staff will be held virtually and upon a mutually agreed upon schedule.
– The studio photographer will photograph the art objects at their own photography studio using their own equipment for photographing and editing. All photography will be on site at the photographer’s studio, performed by the photographer. All objects will be delivered to the photographer on the day of shoot by a WGSAC staff member and returned at the end of the day to WGSAC staff.
– Dolls and doll artists/collectors will be photographed with a WGSAC staff member present with COVID-19 safety precautions enforced.



– The entire project timeline begins in October through the end of December 2020. The shoots are estimated to take approximately one month of consistent work. Photographs will need to be finalized and edited by November 16, 2020 and the show will open (virtually) in early December 2020.



– Approximately 25% of photos selected must be edited by studio photographer.
– Images must be edited in both CMYK and RGB.
– Image should be in both JPG and TIF files.
– Image must be at 300 dpi, 3000 x 2400 ppi (minimum), high resolution megapixels.
– Images will be delivered on both Cloud and a hard drive.


– Will be assessed based on photographer’s experience


To Apply


Please submit the following to be considered:

– A cover letter that addresses your interest and qualifications. The cover letter should be no more than one page.
– Resume
– Links to your website or portfolio.
– A list of two professional references.

All materials should be emailed to the WGSAC Director, Ami Motevalli at


Deadline for submission is October 5, 2020 by 5 p.m.


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