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  • Writer's picturePhotoED Magazine

BIPOC Think Tank

PhotoED Magazine's 2022 season featured a collaboration we were extra excited to facilitate...

With the help of our friends at THINK TANK PHOTO, we produced three very special feature stories around the mentor / mentee pairs that connected through a local BIPOC Photo Mentorship project.

The BIPOC Photo Mentorship Program (BPM) began in Toronto in 2020 as a way to address systematic barriers that face Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour entering into professional photographic practice.

There is significant lack of diversity in all areas the creative industry but, mentorship can help to fast track inclusion, and offer crucial support to emerging photographers.

Mentors in the BPM program offer what they can, and mentees comb through a master list to find a fit that is right for them. Since the program began, mentors and mentees from all parts of the industry have connected with with mentees from Canada, the U.S, and all over the world.

Here are some of the BTS details on the incredible products our featured mentorship program participants received as part of this collaboration!

Our sold out! Spring/ Summer 2022 issue, FASHION X FUTURE featured a showcase of unique fashion images by self-taught photographer SUMI SIDDIQA where she shared her experience of being mentored by photographer MARK BINKS.

“Being a photographer can be an isolating experience, especially when you are starting out and trying to figure out your business, aesthetics, and the fashion world. It’s nice to have someone show you the ropes."

Mark related to Sumi's experience and that is what drove him to offer his time and expertise as a mentor. He says, “As someone who never had much mentorship myself, I can tell you that it can be a pretty lonely place emotionally trying to get started, to plug away, to wonder if what you’re doing is even any good.”

Sumi now shoots on location with a Think Tank Retrospective 10 shoulder bag, and when she needs something small and light the Think Tank Turnstyle 10 sling bag is her go-to.

She loves these features on the Lightweight Sling Bag:

  • Easy rotation for rapid access to gear and accessories

  • Stabilizer strap holds the bag steady while active or tucks away when not in use

  • Dedicated, padded pocket fits a 8″ tablet

  • Fully customizable interior dividers

  • Seam-sealed rain cover included in dedicated pocket

Mentor Mark Binks is SO right, these bags have

"Pockets for DAYS!"

Mark now carries a Think Tank Retrospective 10 shoulder bag for his lens collection!

Features he loves:

  • Secure zippered opening under the main flap that tucks away when not in use.

  • Hook-and-loop “Sound Silencers” offer discretion when needed

  • Seam-sealed rain cover


  • Dedicated pocket fits a 15″ laptop

  • Collapsible water bottle pocket

  • Webbing rail to accommodate modular pouches or carabineer

  • Additional dividers to sub-divide compartments for smaller lenses

  • Organizer pocket

  • Wide storage pocket on back

  • Zippered pocket for valuables and small items


In the Fall, we featured Joel Rodriguez and his mentor, Surendra Lawoti. The pair spent three months working together on the production of Joel’s documentary project Certified Organic, an exploration of food production and regenerative agriculture in Canada. Both Joel and Surendra work from an activist perspective and, though they both use a documentary approach, their practices are unique.

Joel now carries his gear in this super sturdy THINK TANK Retrospective 50 Duffel

This bag is perfect for back road travel.

The duffel bag features:

  • Thick abrasion-resistant canvas with a DWR treatment to repel the elements

  • A wide, padded shoulder strap, Think Tank’s legendary carry comfort

  • World-class YKK zippers slide easily even under overpacked loads

  • Full-grain Dakota leather accents and zipper pulls

Surendra travels a LOT, so he now uses the both the big Retrospective® Duffel 75 and the Retrospective 30 V2.0 shoulder bag . BIG bags for BIG trips!


In our WINTER 2022/23 edition we featured Mentor Jessica Thalmann and her mentee Natalie Asumeng.

Jessica echoes a familiar sentiment among artist mentors when she says,

“Mentoring and teaching is a significant part of my practice that I cherish.
Some of the most meaningful moments and best words of wisdom in my career have been shared by watching and assisting other artists and I want to pay that forward to a new generation of photographers.”

Jessica will also soon be moving forward with some sweet stuff from THINK TANK!

We LOVE this handy cable management bag, and the carryall duffel holds an insane amount of STUFF!


PhotoED Magazine thanks our friends at THINK TANK PHOTO for their generous support in helping us share the stories behind BIPOC emerging Canadian photographer in 2022!

Follow the adventures of @thinktankphoto (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and TikTok)


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