Andrea Sofia Rodriguez Matos is a senior majoring in Art History with a minor in Photography at Florida International University. Passionate for the art and culture of the Caribbean, Latin America, and the African Diaspora, she aspires to be a curator. As part of Art Society Conflict, Andrea desires to expand her knowledge in art and the history of Florida’s most vibrant city.
The Women Photographers International Archive (WOPHA) is a Miami based nonprofit organization founded in 2017 to research, promote and support the role of women, and those identified as women, in photography WOPHA intends to be a leader in the rewriting the artistic canon and provoke social change. By highlighting the contributions of women photographer to modern and contemporary art to finally give them a proper place in the history of art. Aiming to create a network of women’s photo organizations to unite voices through impactful social action and debate theoretical, ethical, and practical issues concerning women and photography. WOPHA aims to interrupt the cycle of a male-dominated industry and render visible the contemporary and historical contributions by women photographers through scholarly symposiums, exhibitions, and lectures and organizes professional development opportunities for artists.
Studying art history has granted me the privilege to work with museums, galleries and cultural institutions all of which have taught me great things about the history of art but specially an appreciation for contemporary art. However, many of the art institutions I have worked with have lacked a strong photographic presence within their collections. Personally, and academically, I have a deep love and passion for photography thus seeing that lack of representation of the medium made me wonder if I could find an internship that expanded my knowledge in it. This internship also goes hand in hand with one of my goals of becoming a curator specialized in the photography of the Caribbean therefore WOPHA’s strong Caribbean and Latinx presence simply made sense for my overall professional development.
In the Spring semester of 2020 I had been doing a research of woman photographers before and after the revolution and found, to my surprise, a contemporary female art historian and researcher by the name of Aldeide Delgado who had created an archive of women photographers from Cuba. Her research was the most important source in mine, and I decided to connect with her via social media. We talked briefly, exchanged information and ideas. To my delight a few months later Ms. Delgado sent me an email inviting me personally to apply for one of the three unpaid internship positions at WOPHA for the 2021 year. I was lucky enough to be selected for the Social Media & Marketing Internship and had my first welcome zoom meeting on Friday, February 5th 2021.
WHERE & WHAT
I had already started my research prior to our introductory meeting and had made annotations of various opportunities of growth regarding WOPHA’s social media accounts. This proved to be very helpful on my first one on one zoom meeting with Ms. Delgado, which started full of hellos and introductions and by the time it was over we had talked about my previous experiences, WOPHA’s main mission, social media strategies and what my responsibilities were as one of the new interns. Ms. Delgado let me know that I would be working directly under her and was very welcoming of any and all ideas I had to give her regarding the social media accounts and listened, very carefully, to all my observations.
February 9th – I was sent an email to work on a newsletter that would introduce and welcome WOPHA’s new interns. She also notified me about a Third Edition of a program they call “PhotoWalks” in partnership with Miami Design District. She told me participating of this program would give us a chance to speak in person and give me a better idea of what WOPHA’s main goal and mission is through hands on experience.
February 12 – Sent the final newsletter introducing the new interns.
February 13 – Attended the “PhotoWalks” workshop at Miami Design District from 10 am – 12pm guided by photographer Passion J. Ward. This was a wonderful opportunity to meet Ms. Delgado in person, interact with the photographers and attendees of the event.
February 15 – 25 – I was informed a few days prior that the WOPHA team would have a meeting in which I would meet the Marketing Specialist and the Community Coordinator who would clarify my upcoming assignments and duties for the following weeks. In the 10am meeting we discussed the upcoming project and campaign the organization was working on and their effective dates. They explained the main goal of my internship was to work towards WOPHA’s Inaugural Congress, which is a, first of its kind, international event that will take place at the Perez Art Museum in November 2021. Ms. Delgado asked all who attended the meeting to critique the drafts sent over by the graphic designer in charge of the Inaugural Congress’s visual identity. This was a really interesting opportunity that gave me the chance to witness the process of choosing such things.
Specifically, they took their time to explain my task for the upcoming two weeks which included organizing and updating a disperse variety of contacts lists into one excel spreadsheet. With over 2,000 contacts I had to go through each, divide them into categories such as: Scholars, Press, Museums etc. Since some of the lists were outdated, I went through many hours of research since many of the contacts needed to be updated, emails had changed, and many had moved from jobs.
February 28 – I was sent an email to work on a press release announcing the launch of our Dialogues in Focus campaign in support of WOPHA’s inaugural congress in November. I got a brief outline of what was needed to make a successful press release and was provided with the information I needed to include in it.
March 2nd – After working on it for two days, I sent my final draft of the press release to Ms. Delgado and the Communications Specialist for review.
March 5th – 11 – Was sent an email to join Slack, an application that allows workplace teams to better communicate via private and group messages. I continued updating the contact lists until Ms. Delgado messaged me to join a board meeting (on March 11th), where I could better experience their work and meeting dynamic. In this meeting the board discussed the division of panels and panelist for the WOPHA inaugural congress. There was a very interesting exchange of ideas and it was fascinating to witness and form connections with so many art professionals. That same day Ms. Delgado, Francisco Maso (Co-Founder & Creative Director of WOPHA) and I had a lovely conversation regarding a new direction of my internship. They saw that I was very invested in the work and thought my initial observations towards the social medias were worth exploring. They tasked me with creating a Social Media/Marketing Proposal that could be implemented in the coming month, specifically focused on the Instagram. They let me know that the social media should be viewed as my own project, tasked with its curation and content creation. I was very excited and got to work.
March 24 – They answered my email with a positive response to my proposal, they encouraged me to start implementing some of the ideas suggested in the document. They were considerate in commenting throughout the document and giving me deeper insight towards the best ideas and what I should focus on. They also granted me access to WOPHA’s Instagram.
March 24 – 27 – I have been accessing WOPHA’s Instagram to keep track and observe the movement, likes and overall interaction with its followers. All the information I witnessed I reported in into the proposal document. Slowly I started implementing a few of my marketing tactics and slowly we started to see an increase in engagement, followers and likes.
March 27- April 4th – I originally was going to track the progress monthly, but we saw such great progress in just one week, I decided to document it weekly. A few of the milestones I am particularly proud of was the increase of 100 followers in just one week as well as an increase in overall engagement. Ms. Delgado is extremely diligent with her feedback and comments, which helped me keep myself on task as the weeks progressed.
As the Social Media and Marketing intern at the Women Photographer’s International Archive I had a rich and fresh experience working close to the founder of the organization. I was lucky to have been included in important meetings and trusted with important tasks, all of which have taught me many new things about the art world, how a non-profit organization runs and expanded much of what I know about photography and marketing. I have also met many women photographers, scholars and curator who specialize in photography who have taken my eagerness to learn in consideration and offered me advice. So far, the organizational and administrative direction of the internship has been very challenging but very rewarding. I believe my writing has also been put to the test, and I have been able to expand my vocabulary and explored the difference of writing academically and writing for media outlets. My social media and marketing skills have definitely been put to the test, but I feel much more confident with all the information I had and the one I acquired along the way. This internship doesn’t stop here, I was hired from February till November, and I am very excited to see what more I learn and how the coming months will plan out as we get closer to the WOPHA Inaugural Congress.