Warning: count(): Parameter must be an array or an object that implements Countable in /misc/29/000/198/298/9/user/web/mfonfoto.org/wp-includes/post-template.php on line 284

The Team

Laylah Amatullah Barrayn, Co-Founder & Editor-in-Chief

Laylah Amatullah Barrayn is a photographer based in New York City. She has been making images through analog and digital photography since the late ’90s. Her photographs have been published by The Washington Post, The New York Times, Exposure the Journal of The Society for Photographic Education, Colorlines and other publications.

She is a 2017 recipient of the Reporting Grant for Women’s Stories and African Great Lakes Reporting Fellowship, both from the International Women’s Media Foundation. Her work has been supported with grants from Columbia University’s IRAAS, the Research Foundation of the City University of New York and the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs. She is a four-time recipient of the Community Arts Grant from the Brooklyn Arts Council. BRIC Arts selected her as a 2015 Media Arts Fellow where she produced her first experimental short, “Sunu Fall.”

She has given talks at Yale University, The International Center of Photography, New York University, The Women of the World Festival and The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture.

Her work has been exhibited in the U.S., Europe and Africa. Barrayn’s latest project on the Baye Fall sufi order of Senegal was exhibited at Galleria Biagiottie in Florence, Italy and at the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts (MoCADA), New York. 

In 2015, she was selected for the Alexia Foundation workshop, “Photography: Agent for Change” and was shortlisted for the Lucie Foundation’s, Emerging Photographer. She was recently an artist-in-residence at the Waaw Center for Art and Design in Saint-Louis, Senegal.


Adama Delphine Fawundu, Co-Founder & Editor-in-Chief

Adama Delphine Fawundu is photo-based multi-disciplinary award winning visual artist and educator based in Brooklyn, NY.  In 2015, Ms. Fawundu, was one of the 60 women chosen to front the clothing brand, The Limited’s “New Look of Leadership Campaign.” Over the past 25 years, through extensive travel and research, Ms. Fawundu has produced several photographic archives of works documenting the life and culture of people within the African Diaspora.    These works were published in numerous anthologies and books such as, Africa Under the Prism: Contemporary African Photography from the Lagos Photo Festival by Joseph Gergel,  ReSignifications: European Blackamoors, Africana Readings, Edited by Awam Ampka, Reflections in Black: A History of Black Photographers 1840-Present by Deborah Willis, Black: A Celebration of Black Culture Reflections in Black: A History of Black Photographers 1840 to the Present by Dr. Deborah Willis,  Unbelievable: The Life, Death, and Afterlife of the Notorious B.I.G by Cheo Hodari Coker (Vibe Books, 2004), and Enduring Visions: Women’s Artistic Heritage Around the World by Abby Remer (Davis Publications, 2001). Her works has also been contextualized in publications such as The New York Times, Time Magazine and New York Magazine.

Ms. Fawundu’s commitment to social justice issues prompted the commission to produce a documentary and solo photography exhibition titled, “Tivoli: A Place We Call Home: A Community Faces Gentrification,” at the Brooklyn Historical Society.  This project was used to help a community maintain their housing during the midst of gentrification. She was also commissioned to produce a media campaign and solo traveling exhibition for the Women’s Institute of the GMHC titled: “Touched: Black & Latina Women Living with HIV.” This series project toured New York City and was used as an advocacy tool for HIV awareness and prevention.

Fawundu’s works has been exhibited in institutions such as the BRIC Biennial 2016, The Brooklyn Museum of Art, International Center of Photography, Rush Arts Gallery, the Lagos Photo Festival, The Brighton Photo Biennial 2016 (UK), Norton Museum of Art, Villa La Pietra (Italy) and the Museum of Contemporary Photography (Chicago). She’s been awarded grants from the New York Foundation of the Arts Fellowship, IREX Teachers for Global Classrooms Fellow, Brooklyn Arts Council, The Puffin Foundation, The Open Society Institute, The Norton Museum of Art/Rubin Prize Nominee, and the Brooklyn Historical Society.  Her works can be found in the the collections at the Brooklyn Museum of Art, The Norton Museum of Art, Corridor Art Gallery, and The Museum of Contemporary Art, University of São Paulo.

Crystal Whaley, Deputy Editor

Crystal Whaley is a multiple EMMY Award winning creative producer and development executive in film/TV/digital offering a unique combination of cross-functional skills with over 15 years of experience. Specialized expertise in content development and acquisition, strategic brand initiatives and creative direction. Crystal is responsible for the overall financial sustainability and creative integrity of multiple shows/projects, including the oversight of all logistics necessary to meet creative mandates, broadcast standards and brand recognition. She’s developed, produced, directed and supervised award winning series TV, documentaries, commercials and music videos.

Owner and Creative Director of Plan C Media Group, she’s also a former principal and co-owner of Pixel Media LLC / Lionsgate as well as a former senior producer for Sesame Workshop, former director of video for Arista Records and former executive producer of Free Spirit Films Inc. She’s produced nationally syndicated and Peabody nominated documentaries for PBS and The Learning Channel among a myriad of advertising & print campaigns, innovative commercials, and ground breaking music videos for award-winning artists.

A lover of the arts, Crystal is an accomplished Curator and Photographer, a member of the Producer’s Guild of America (PGA) and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., this Los Angeles native & honorary New Yorker holds a Journalism degree from Howard University and a Film Production Certificate from New York University.


Shannon Washington, Creative Director

Labeled as a ‘Next Gen CEO’ by Refinery 29, Shannon Washington has built a dynamic career based on a solid reputation, a visionary insight and a flair for the imaginative. With just over 10 years as a professional creative, Shannon has created integrated, print, experiential, broadcast and digital experiences for a variety of industries, from wine + spirits to technology and beauty. She proudly counts Diageo, COTY/Rimmel, Moet Hennessy, Pepsi and more as a part of her brand history and agencies like iris, MKTG, Mirrorball, and CHWA as her training grounds.

Currently, Shannon is a Senior Creative Director at INVNT where she focuses on live and integrated experiences for Intel, SC Johnson, POPSUGAR, Time Inc and more. Before INVNT, Shannon served as a lead Digital Creative Director at GREY New York, where she focused on beauty and lifestyle brands such as Pandora Jewelry and Pantene where she actively created work to shape a new, digital-first conversation for the iconic brand.

In her spare time, Shannon publishes and crafts content strategy for PARLOUR, a digital travel platform for women of color and serves as a mentor with New Inc, a cultural and entrepreneur incubator program. Shannon also actively adds to the discourse around the importance and power of women in advertising through paneling and public conversations, most recently at Advertising Week NY 2016.