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Ruth McDowall  is a New Zealand born photographer, She studied fine arts at Elam art school Auckland, New Zealand. In 2008 she travelled to northern Nigeria, creating a project teaching street kids photography. Her documentary photography started from these initial years immersed in the city of Jos. She has now lived in Africa for 7 years


In 2015 she received a Photo Reporter Grant to complete a project about youth that escaped abduction by Boko Haram in Nigeria.  This project was selected as Times best 10 photo essay of the month, a finalist in Lensculture visual story telling awards 2015 and featured on New Yorker Photo Booth, National Geographic Proof and Raw View magazine.

Some of her clients include Time, Newsweek, Telegraph, Elle, The Guardian, Le Telegrame, IO Donna, and Jeune Afrique, Heinrich Boll Foundation, Al Jazeera magazine, Buzfeed, Glamour,UNESCO, Action Aid and UNICEF

Realizing the limits of photography she also continues her work with street youth in Nigeria



Awards, Workshops, Exhibitions, Teaching



Raw View Magazine, “Women looking at Women” curated by Susan Meiselas,

Heroine, Elizabeth Housten Gallery, New York

Presentation at Nuku Studio, Nbuke Foundation, Ghana.

The Fence, Malaiku: Brooklyn, Houston, Atlanta, Boston

New York Times portfolio review

Lensculture Portrait Awards Finalist.



Festival Photoreporter New Work Grant and Exhibition, France

Finalist, Lensculture Visual Story Telling Awards

Heinrich Boll Foundation Grant, Mulitmedia documentary on Internally displaced in Lagos, Nigeria.



Journeys to School, Exhibition, UNESCO, UNHQ, New York

Journeys to School, book , UNESCO

Noor Masterclass conflict in Photography, France



The Last Straw, Lagos Photo Festival, Nigeria

Photo Reporter Festival, France

Photo Reporter Festival, France