This Is What A Techie Looks Like

The underrepresented faces you don't usually see

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A photography project by San Francisco based photographer, Helena Price has been sweeping through Silicon Valley and causing a real stir.

The Techies is a portrait project that focusses on employees in the tech industry, but not the people you're used to seeing.

Helena spoke with individuals you're not likely to find in TechCrunch and Mashable, the underrepresented minorities, from people of colour, people over 50, LGBTQ people, women (yes, still a minority in Silicon Valley), working parents, disabled people and many more.  

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The people included couldn't be more diverse or more interesting. A short bio introduces each  individual captured.

Below is a selection of the portraits and the individual's stories. Read on and feel inspired.

Emily Eifler

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'I'm 30, female, and disabled from a brain injury caused by gas poisoning when I was 10. I'm an artist working as a VR [Virtual Reality] researcher right now but I have also worked as a dancer and at architecture firms and for the Exploratorium [A hands-on museum of science, art, and human perception in San Francisco].'

Tiffany Taylor

'I’m a self-taught designer and coder. I never thought I’d be able to take my geeky high school hobby of making websites and turn it into a career.  As a woman of colour, I have a unique perspective when it comes to designing experiences. That said, I have only met one other black female designer in tech in the past six years.'

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Chanpory Rith

'I grew up in West Oakland after immigrating as a refugee of war during the Cambodian Civil War. We grew up very poor in a small one-bedroom apartment for a family of 9, on welfare and food stamps. Eventually, I made way to art school via scholarships and loans, studied graphic design, and began thriving in the tech world (Google, Inkling, Mixmax).'

Dominique DeGuzman

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'I fell into engineering. I wanted to be literally anything other than in the technical field. I was broke in college and took a job selling computers at Best Buy, then fixed computers then fixed computers at an enterprise scale and then figured, “I could automate this” and did it. Now, 4 years after quitting Best Buy, I am a software engineer focusing on Infrastructure and Security. It’s a crazy journey but every time I think of it, I am incredibly proud of what I have accomplished with little to no formal education in the field.'

Nadia Eghbal

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I found myself drawn to the engineering + product team [the people who design the product and organise the rest of the team], taught myself how to code, and when I left in 2012, I ended up starting a food company with my roommate. Our company got accepted into 500 Startups. After we sold the company, I joined a venture firm, Collaborative Fund, after one of the partners liked a blog post I wrote. For the past couple of years, I’d been obsessing over public infrastructure for the Internet. The Ford Foundation is funding my work now and I’m excited about the progress we’re making.'

Clem Breslin

I worked in tech for two and a half years before I made the decision to come out as trans. Asking my co-workers to call my by gender neutral pronouns was one of the most vulnerable and challenging things I’ve ever done. I founded SoundCloud’s first LGBTQ resource group for employees, the QueerClouders. Standing up for myself and a group that I identify with has been a huge accomplishment.'

 

Words by ELLE Technology Editor Robyn Exton

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