Serving the Southern Illinois University community since 1916.

The Daily Egyptian

Serving the Southern Illinois University community since 1916.

The Daily Egyptian

Serving the Southern Illinois University community since 1916.

The Daily Egyptian

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WPOW! Women photojournalists featured in Sharp Museum 


The Women Photojournalists of Washington (WPOW) marks its 16th Annual Photography and Multimedia Exhibition this year, shining a spotlight on the impactful work of its members. 

From Jan. 16 to May 10, the exhibit in Sharp Museum invites the public to witness the outstanding visual journalism produced by these women standing on the forefront of stories across the world.

Photos from the Women Photojournalist’s of Washington are seen displayed in Sharp Museum at SIU February 18, 2024 in Carbondale, Ill.
(Mo Collar)

Julia Rendleman, an assistant professor of journalism in the College of Arts and Media and previous WPOW member, said, “The main goal of the exhibit is to showcase some of the best photojournalism of 2023 and to expose our students to work beyond Carbondale.”


Images in the exhibit were created by 23 WPOW member photographers and two multimedia journalists. 

“All the women who are exhibiting are in the Women Photojournalists of Washington, so many photos are leaning pretty heavily to what the press covers, but there’s all sorts of photos.”

The exhibit captures moments from political events in D.C., to more personal and private moments with their subjects. 

The Best in Show title went to two different pieces: Allison Robbert, student photographer at the GW Hatchet, photographed President Joe Biden as he paused before answering a question in the State Dining Room of the White House Nov. 9, 2023. Erin Schaff’s photo for the New York Times shows Shawn Armstrong laying in bed with her mom, Ann Brown before they fell asleep at home in Choctaw, Oklahoma, on May 29, 2023. Shawn’s son Joshua was in jail on a murder charge after allegedly sharing drugs with a friend who overdosed. 

Shawn told Schaff the only thing that calmed her down and helped her sleep during that time was having her mom rub her arm before they go to sleep.”

The opening reception at the museum features Anna Rose Layden, a freelance photojournalist in Washington, D.C. who primarily covers U.S. politics. 

The reception not only serves as a celebration of Layden’s contributions to the field, but also as an invitation for the community to explore the power of visual storytelling. Attendees will have the opportunity to interact with Layden, ask questions, and gain unique insights into the craft of photojournalism.


Layden said, “Our 16th annual exhibition, like the ones before it, aims to expose the general public to visual journalism, the impact women have on the industry, and to celebrate the work done by our colleagues. Our members based in and around the DC area are on the front lines of national, international, and local stories on a daily basis and we hope that our platform can reach those outside of our own journalism circle.”

Her contribution to the exhibit features supporters of Rep. Abigail Spanburger (D-Va.) celebrating her victory during an election watch on Nov. 8, 2022. 

“I’m thrilled to be able to speak about the work presented in this exhibit, particularly because this was my first time as co-chair of the Exhibition Committee,” she said.  

The exhibit holds valuable learning opportunities for students, offering a unique perspective on the world through the lens of accomplished female photographers.

Rendleman said, “Because I’m the photo journalism professor, it’s really important to me to expose my students to a lot of different kinds of work. The main thing I’m doing with this event is Anna Rose Layden is coming a day early so she can speak in both my classes that I’m teaching this semester.”

At this time, intermediate photojournalism students will also be sharing a short term story that they have been working on with Layden.

“She’s going to be there giving feedback, sort of like a visiting professional. She’s going to be in direct contact with the students, working with them on their own stories and sharing her own. So absolutely. I’m not sure what’s better than that,” Rendleman said. 

In the dynamic and often competitive nature of visual journalism, the need for a supportive and inclusive community is more crucial than ever. Layden’s commitment to fostering a welcoming and diverse space for female-identifying visual journalists instills the belief that their aspirations are feasible.

Layden said, “I am not much older than the students that I will be meeting. It’s so important to me to be able to encourage them to pursue their dreams and know that they are achievable, no matter what they feel may stand in their way.”

She hopes to share the different avenues students can take to achieve their goals.

Photos from the Women Photojournalist’s of Washington are seen displayed in Sharp Museum at SIU February 18, 2024 in Carbondale, Ill.

“There is not one singular path to success in the journalism industry, just as there is not one way to make a picture or document an event,” Layden said.

She shared that she is looking forward to speaking with the students about her work, and commemorating the images of the incredible women that she works with, especially as a younger female photographer in what is still a male dominated industry.

“I hope to be a person they feel they can relate and connect to when looking at and thinking of DC journalism, and know that there are many others like me who are cheering for them from the sidelines, waiting to watch what emerging visual journalists will do in the future,” Layden said.

Getting involved in WPOW by volunteering at or sponsoring events can help students gain connections in the industry. Organization membership is free for people who meet the criteria as well.

Layden said, “We encourage people to come to our events if they are in the D.C. area. Membership is open to women and non-binary photo and video journalists, professionals and students alike.” 

Rendleman said, “Everyone across campus and the community can come to the opening exhibit where Anna Rose will be speaking, so that’s another way students can interact with this project.”

The exhibit first opens every year in Washington, D.C., at an outdoor alleyway gallery in the fall. Throughout the academic year, the exhibition and members representing WPOW will be traveling to New York, Massachusetts, Colorado, Missouri, Ohio and Kentucky.

“Before I moved here for this job, I was actually a member of WPOW and that’s how I got linked up to it. Last fall, the directors of the traveling exhibit emailed me and asked if SIU was interested in hosting the traveling exhibit,” Rendleman said.

She expressed her interest in hosting the exhibit and initiated the planning process on campus.

“Finding an appropriate space was a really big deal. I wanted it to come with some level of prestige and not just be in the journalism hallway. So, I reached out to Wes at Sharp Museum and we started working together,” Rendleman said.

The location is vital in making it more convenient for people, notably students and members of the Carbondale community, to engage with the event.

Rendleman said, “I just think this is a great opportunity for SIU, the School of Journalism and all our students and I hope we have a big turnout.”

Check out the WPOW website or its Instagram for regular updates, including information for the 2025 Exhibit and 2024 Portfolio Review and Seminar.



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