the diahann project

Meet Steffie



+ Portrait


my name is stefanie (aka steffie). i am the founder + portrait photographer behind The Diahann Project (TDP) + perinatal photographer behind Birthlooms. Both portrait photography-based collaboratives are centered around liberating the intersectional visual stills + stories of Black + Brown folks.

i’m a differently-abled, black+ into jamaican-american kinesthetic storyteller, self-taught photographer, certified birth + perinatal photographer, perinatal movement psychotherapist + a licensed mental health clinician based in the greater boston area.

i live my life as an embodied mover, lifelong learner, creative wellness practitioner + educator, laughter loving island gyal, avid soca carnivalist, a self-proclaimed #plantauntie + known as "auntie steffie" to a beautiful bunch of tiny humans.


Born in the beautiful island of Jamaica...

i fell in love with portraiture as a young girl. my first introduction to portrait film photography was by way of my maternal grandfather, who on many of his annual visits to Jamaica in my childhood, would honor the ending of each visit by setting up his antique styled vintage film camera to capture those classic 80’s + 90’s family portraits, often in the backyard of her family home.

there would be some protesting with having to sit still, but this became a beautiful + deeply meaningful family ritual over the years. a visual heirloom of sorts that unconsciously inspired my creative identity in my formative years + is the familial cornerstone that propels my curiosity within her work as a trauma-informed + culturally sensitive portrait photographer now. 

More About Steffie

Cultivating Creative Health | Stefanie Belnavis

Introducing Stefanie! Stefanie was the very first artist we filmed in 2020, when officially beginning Defining Leadership. Learning from her perspective felt divinely planned. Growing up and struggling with authority highkey forced me into seeking stability through creative ventures. Through Stefanie, I relearned the importance of finding creative liberation through self-awareness and positive collaborations.

Video: Paulina Kaba @conformingsucks & Jason Kimball @jason.kimball

Title Animation: Kayla Myers

Music: Karim @roxburys_finest_