Ruth McDowall (1984) was born in Taranaki, New Zealand. She completed a BFA at Elam School of Fine Arts in New Zealand. In 2008 she visited Nigeria and returned in 2010 to set up a project empowering at risk youth by teaching them the skill of photography. Based in the Northern city of Jos her close friends and students were all affected by the ethnic/religious conflict so she began capturing the day-today reality and impact of it. In late 2011 she began freelancing fulltime.
Her work has been published in Time, Newsweek, Telegraph, The Guardian, New Yorker, The Conversation, Al Jazeera magazine and her long term project on the conflict in Northern Nigeria featured on New Yorker Photo Booth.
She exhibited work on the Occupy Nigeria movement during Lagos Photo Festival in 2012. A project documenting the journeys to school of nomadic Fulani children, for UNESCO and SIPA was exhibited in a group show at the UNHQ in New York and Paris and will become a travelling exhibition in 2015.
She received a scholarship to participate in a Masterclass in Conflict Photography by Noor. in Bayeux, France in October 2013
She is currently based in West Africa and spends most of her time in Nigeria.
Realizing the limits of photography she also continues her work with street youth in Nigeria