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. Her projects are often concerned youth justice admist conflic the enviroment and mans relationship to it.

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 and National Geographic Proof and Raw View magazine.

Some of her editorial clients include Time, Newsweek, Telegraph, The Guardian, Elle, IO Donna, Le Telegrame, Jeune Afrique, Al Jazeera magazine, Buzzfeed, Glamour, Raw View and New Yorker. She has also worked with various NGO's and instituions such as Action Aid, The Carter Center, Intel, UNICEF, C.A.R.E, and Heinrich Boll Foundation. Corporate clients include, Intel, Facebook and Lindt.

McDowall also creates short documentaries for broadcast, and video pieces for NGO's.

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

Awards, Workshops, Exhibitions

  • 2016
  • New York Times portfolio review
  • Heroine, Elizabeth Housten Gallery, New York
  • The Fence, Malaiku: Brooklyn, Houston, Atlanta, Boston
  • Lensculture Portrait Awards Finalist.
  • Fotovisura, Honorable mention
  • Presentation at Nuku Studio, Nbuke Foundation, Ghana.
  • 2015
  • 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.
  • 2013
  • Journeys to School, Exhibition, UNESCO, UNHQ, New York
  • Journeys to School, book , UNESCO
  • Noor Masterclass conflict in Photography, France
  • 2012
  • The Last Straw, Lagos Photo Festival, Nigeria