Hailun Ma is a Chinese photographer from Xinjiang, who now divides her time between New York and Shanghai. After studying fashion photography in New York, she was inspired to return to the place where she grew up to document the fashion and style of the local people – Uyghurs. The Uyghur are a mostly Muslim Turkic ethnic group who live in East and Central Asia.
When you see their incredible use of colour and flamboyant dress sense, you’ll see exactly why taking photographs of them is something Hailun Ma just couldn’t turn down.
Take a look at more of Hailun Ma’s photography on her website here.
Elena Heatherwick is a British photographer who works out of London. Today, we’re sharing her work where she photographs and documents midwives in Liberia – capturing the hope, excitement, happiness and stress of their jobs.
As a window into a world, you’ll be hard pressed to find a selection of photographs that do a better job of putting you entirely into something you might never have seen.
Fatemeh Behboudi is a documentary photographer in Iran who is aiming to capture the culture and feel of a country where the discipline of documentary photography itself is still quite new.
This series of images is from her ongoing project, Mourning for Hussain, where she documents how Shiite muslims across Iran celebrate Ashoura. Ashoura is a celebration of the life and martyrdom of Imam Hussain, the grandson of the prophet Muhammad. As a window into a world we might never see otherwise, you can’t get anything much more interesting or thought provoking than this.
You can visit her site here to see more of her incredible work.
Gregory Michenaud is a freelance photographer based in Krakow, Poland. Here, we’re sharing some of his work from Yibbum, a project where he spent time with Hasidic Jews in Poland, capturing their daily lives and rituals.
The documentary feel of these images really brings to life a kind of visual anthropology – the viewer really feels that they gain access to a culture perhaps they could never have seen before. It’s so compelling!
To see more of Michenaud’s work, do visit his website here.
Jono Wood is a South African freelance photographer based in Johannesburg. The project of his that we’re sharing with you today, New Year’s Day Durban Beach, is of particular importance in the current South African context. Spurred to action by bigoted and racist Facebook posts from white South Africans about Durban beach front on New Year’s Day – he set out to photograph the throngs of people and the spectacle that is Durban beach front, in order to remind us all that we’re all humans.
These undeniable images that capture so much of the human experience serve as a sharp rebuke to people who would seek to dehumanise fellow South Africans. Really, they show how photography can be vitally important to our society.
You can visit Wood’s website here.
And you can follow him on Instagram here.
Ash Thayer is a photographer and mixed media artist who currently resides in LA. We’ve shared some images here from her project, Kill City, which chronicles her time spent with punks and squatters in New York in the 1990s.
These images are not about perfect composition or the best possible lighting design, rather they are poignant pieces of documentary. We are given a window into a time and a lifestyle that no longer exists (at least in much of New York). Squatting and this kind of punk lifestyle is now much harder to find in 2016.
This is the power of photography – capturing moments and creating cultural time capsules that we can look back on, offering us insight into a way of life or a way of thinking that can be incredibly hard to find.
Retha Ferguson is a local, Cape Town based photographer with a keen eye for documentary portraits that bring subcultures or areas to light that most people might not notice or perhaps think less of. Watching her oeuvre grow, you can see the emotion she has for her subjects and how her images bring their humanity to the fore and remind us that they exist. That being said, Ferguson’s work is not cheesy or overly sentimental. Her work is at once earnest and artful.
Here we are sharing some images from her ‘Voortrekker Road’ series, where she has examined what Voortrekker Road means to Cape Town. But instead of putting words in her mouth, read her artist’s statement about the project:
Stretching 17 kilometres, alongside the railway line from Salt River to Bellville, Voortrekker Road trails the vestiges of a society in flux. Named after the single most important component in the folk memory of Afrikaner Nationalism, and once a shopping hub for white South Africans, today the road harbours a diverse economy and provides a haven for foreign nationals from all over Africa and the Middle East. Working class black South Africans, white South Africans and immigrants from numerous countries transact in business contracts on a daily basis. This project is a study on the complexities at play in a community and how this community relates to an outdated name with ambiguous historical connotations.
We do suggest you follow her on instagram so you can keep up to date with her work. Alternately, take a look at her site here.