december 2022

my name is courtney coles, and i’m a pulitzer prize finalist (2022) photographer, writer and professor born and raised in los angeles (sylmar). i received my mfa with an emphasis in photography & media from calarts and my bfa in photography from the pacific northwest college of art. my practice is rooted in my fascination with the multiple ways i consider people, places and memories “home” and my desire to preserve it. i am enthralled by making photographs that are soft and sincere because the world has been anything but to Black queer women like me. i extend grace first to myself, as seen in my self-portraits, and then to my loved ones who so graciously invite me into their lives. where the world has failed in protecting me, i have stepped in to make the quiet photographs that soothe me.

for a number of years i have made intimate photographs in the music industry and seven years ago i co-founded to the front, a traveling art show and collective for women and non-binary artists working in the music industry.

when looking to commission me, i am interested in making photographs about Black mothers and their relationships with their daughters, stories about families, stories about the lgbtq+ community, artists in their workspaces, musicians in the recording studio and intimate domestic spaces.

i have shared my work in classrooms at multiple institutions including ucla and ucsb and i have made photographs for clients such as wsj, nytimes and slate magazine.

diversify photo
women photograph
to the front (co-founder)

recent interviews:
Strange Fire Collective (October 2020)
Hyperallergic: At CalArts, Graduating Students Are Making Sincere and Rigorous Work (April 2019)
The Week (May 2016)



instagram: @kernieflakes

Using Format