Joana Toro Colombian independent documentary photographer exploring issues of immigration, human rights and identity.

Joana is a self-taught photojournalist based in New York City and Bogota.  She worked as a staff photographer with the major magazines and newspapers in Colombia. In 2011, Joana migrated to the United States to pursue her career as a documentarian and artist.   
Her work is included in Collections such as ai-ap Latin American Photography, En Foco and exhibited in international photo festivals : GuatePhoto,Just another Festival India, Photoville, International Photography festival Pingyao China, among others.

She was participant of Missouri Photo Workshop mpw.68 for a scholarship awarded. Her projects have been featured on The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Smithsonian Magazine and other international publications.

She published her first monograph, Masked (oodee, London, 2014). Masked was inaugurated with a group exhibition at the Galería Valenzuela Klenner in Bogotá.  Masked is sold out.  Currently based in New York City, USA, and Bogota, Colombia.



2011-2013  Hunter College (English as Second Language) 

2014-2016  Pi Art Center, (Art)


I Am Hello Kitty (Tragaluz Editores, Medellín, 2018)

Masked (oodee, London, 2014)

Parteras /Midwives  (Fundación ACUA, Bogotá, 2012 )


Colombia: Fotografías por la libertad de prensa (Reporters without Borders,

Bogotá. 2007)

Colombia através del Tiempo (Casa Editorial El Tiempo, Bogotá, 2007) 

Colombia através del Tiempo (Casa Editorial El Tiempo, Bogotá, 2006)

Colombia: Imágenes y  realidades (United Nations Office of High Commisioner for Human Rights, Bogotá, 2005)


Awards, Grants and Honors

2017 Scholarship awarded Native Agency Festival de Fotografia documental Quito- Ecuador

2017 Scholarship awarded Visual Storytelling & Documentary Photography by Ed Kashi,and James Estrin.

2016  Scholarship awarded Mary Clerk Scholarship to the 68th annual Missouri Photo Workshop 

2016  New York Times Portfolio Review 

2015  Julia Margaret Cameron Awards, finalist

2015  Scholarship awarded Fotovisura

2015  En Foco Fellowship Awards #18

2014  New York TimesPortfolio Review 

2013  Roberto Villagraz Grant, finalist 

2012  AI -AP,  Latin American Photography Collection 4

2010  FNPI - CEMEX photography contest, finalist 

2009  Colombian Government Ministry of Culture,  Photography and Cultural 

Heritage national contest, winner

2008  Circulo de Periodistas de Bogotá national contest, winner

2006  FNPI, full scholarship 



2017 “Foto-feminas: Latina photographers” Bronx Documentary Center

2017  “Foto-feminas” artist talk Ojo Rojo Fabrica Visual, Bogota 

2017 “Translatina” artist talk Ojo Rojo Fabrica Visual, Bogota 

2017  “ La mujer como objeto y sujeto en la fotografia” workshop facilitator OjoRojo Fabrica Visual  Bogota 

2017 “Documentación de Identidad y cultura popular” workshop facilitator OjoRojo Fabrica Visual  Bogota 

2016“Dressing Room” artist talk, International Center of Photography,  NYC,  Documentary and Photojournalism Program Joseph Rodriguez class 

2015  “I Am Hello Kitty” artist talk,International Center of Photography, NYC, community programs

2015  “I Am Hello Kitty” artist talk, International Center of Photography,  NYC, Photography and Human Rights Class.

2015  “I Am Hello Kitty” artist talk, En Foco New Photography Fellowship #18, Bronx Documentary Center,  NYC

2015  “The Art of Seeing” artist talk, Nathan Cummings Foundation, NYC, 

2013  “I Am Hello Kitty” artist talk, International Center of Photography,  NYC,  Documentary and Photojournalism Program.

Selected Exhibitions

2018  Locuars exhibition“Traslatina” Caelum Gallery, Chelsea New York

2017 “Masked” Conception Art Show, New York

2017 “Masked” nee-bex  contemporary art gallery, Bogota

2017 “I Am Hello Kitty” “Transizioni" photo-slides and narration festival, Bergamo (Italy)

2016“I Am Hello Kitty” Pingyao China, International Photography festival 

2016  “I Am Hello Kitty” projection, San José international photography festival

2015  “I Am Hello Kitty” projection, Photoville international photo festival,  Brookline, NY

2015  “I Am Hello Kitty”,  GuatePhoto international photography festival,  Guatemala City, Guatemala 

2015  “I Am Hello Kitty” multimedia projection, SLIDELUCK, Bogota, Colombia / Los Angeles, USA / Bali, Indonesia/ Hong Kong

2015  “I Am Hello Kitty”, Bronx Documentary Center,  Bronx, NY

2014  “Masked”, gallery: Galería Valenzuela Klenner, Bogotá

2009   “Masked”,  Palacio Nariño,  Bogotá

2003   “Colombia on my mind”, Unviersidad Jorge Tadeo Lozano, Bogotá

2003   Fotomuseo, outdoor street exhibition, Bogota.

Selected Publications 

“Venezuelan Exodo” Wall Street Journal June 23, 2017

“I am Hello Kitty” Photoword China, May 1, 2017

“Venezuela women in labor cross to Colombia to give to Colombia”, Wall Street Journal March 23, 2017

“Dressing Room -Translatina”,  New York Times Lens (online publication),October 13, 2016

“Dressing Room -Translatina”, New York Times Sunday Edition, Panorama,Album October 16, 2016 

“I Am Hello Kitty”,  New York Times Lens (online publication), January 31, 2014

“I Am Hello Kitty”, New York Times Sunday Edition, Panorama,Album 

page 8 February 2, 2014

“I Am Hello Kitty” New York Times International Edition, 

page 2 February 5, 2014

“I Am Hello Kitty”, Open Society Foundations (Instagram feed), August 25, 2015 

“I Am Hello Kitty”, Time Lightbox (mention in online articule about documentary photography) February 10, 2014

“I Am Hello Kitty”, Refinery29 (online publication Interview) December 22, 2015

“Colombia on my mind” Fotomeraki (online publication) December 2, 2015

“Colombia on my mind” Edge of Humanity online magazine (online publication) November 6, 2015

“I Am Hello Kitty” Business Insider (online publication) March 6, 2014

“I Am Hello Kitty” Nueva Luz  photographic journal volume 19:1 2015

“I Am Hello Kitty” Bird in flight International photo magazine (online publication) August 6, 2014

“I Am Hello Kitty” p3 Portugal Portugal mayor newspaper (online publication) November 5, 2015

“I Am Hello Kitty” Foto féminas (online publication) May1, 2015

 “Midwives of Buenaventura” AI-AP Dispatches from Latin America (online publication Interview) October 16, 2015

 “Midwives of Buenaventura” Etica Segura Fundacion Nuevo Periodismo Gabriel Garcia marquez Women into photojournalism (online publication Interview) 2013

“Midwives of Buenaventura” Etiqueta Negra Peruvian Magazine 2014

“Emeralds” Don Juan Colombian Magazine 2009

Photography Experience

2017-present contributor  photographer Wall Street Journal Latin America

2014-present contributor photographer Redux, stock photo agency

2013-present contributor photographer New York Times

2009 present contributor photographer, Getty Images photo agency

2009-present contributor photographer, VIEWPress,  photo agency

2005-2009  Staff photographer, El Tiempo, major daily newspaper, Bogotá

2004  Staff photographer, Semana, newsweekly magazine, Bogotá

2000 -2003 Staff photographer, El Tiempo, major daily newspaper, Bogotá


Spanish, English