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Trailblazers 5 Photographers You Need To Know From The Gen.T List

5 Photographers You Need To Know From The Gen.T List

5 Photographers You Need To Know From The Gen.T List
By Jianne Soriano
November 24, 2020
For shooting subjects that matter to shining a light on human rights issues, get to know these photographers from the Gen.T List

Following the unveiling of the 400 honourees on the Gen.T List 2020, we're profiling five photographers from the list over the last few years who are making a difference through the images they capture.

These photographers share undiscovered stories with millions, shining a light on people, places and issues that most cannot personally experience. Their images spark conversations about the most pressing issues that shape our region––from human rights to the climate crisis.

With the once-in-a-lifetime event we're all currently living through, the work of these photographers to document the world around us is more important than ever. Here are five photographers from the Gen.T List who are doing just that. 

Nadirah Zakariya

Gen.T List 2020

Often photographers shy away from the spotlight, opting to be behind the lens rather than in front of it. Nadirah Zakariya breaks the norm. This visual artist's powerful photographs focus on a range of subjects—including herself––creating captivating self-portraits that highlight her skin condition, vitiligo, which causes patches of pigment loss.

Hailing from Malaysia, she first discovered photography when she was 17 years old and living in a small town in Japan. Now forging an impressive career in New York, Zakariya's photographs speak of her upbringing, producing images that are as eclectic as her diverse background.

As well as capturing subjects that matter, she encourages others to do the same by hosting masterclasses and through projects such as the Two Mountains Photography series. Her photographs have been published in Vice, Vogue Italia and The New York Times

Ezra Acayan

Gen.T List 2020

Filipino documentary photographer Ezra Acayan focuses on social issues and human rights, his most notable work highlighting the effects of the Philippine government's war on drugs. The powerful images he has captured have appeared in numerous international outlets and also received a special merit at the Human Rights Press Awards.

Acayan also has several other awards and recognitions under his belt including Photographer of the Year at the International Photography Awards in 2017 and Young Photographer of the Year at the Istanbul Photo Awards 2018. His work covering the war on drugs has also been exhibited in Geneva, France and Germany. 

In 2019, Acayan received a World Press Photo Award in the Spot News category. He is also an Ian Parry Scholarship and Lucie Foundation grantee. Formerly a wire photographer for Reuters, Acayan began shooting professionally at just 17. Since then, he has done work for various media outlets including Agence French-Presse, Deutsche Presse-Agentur and French Society Magazine. He currently works for Getty Images, based in the Philippines.

See also: Inside One Foundation's Fight Against Forced Labour And Debt Bondage Among Domestic Workers

Gabriel Mejia

Gen.T List 2020

Gabriel Meija is a photographer as well as the co-founder of Youth Engaged in Wetlands, an organisation dedicated to conserving wetlands around the world. The conservation photographer and emerging filmmaker has covered stories on wildlife, the climate crisis and indigenous peoples. As co-founder and head of communications of Youth Engaged in Wetlands, he also works with youth leaders to protect ecosystems. 

Within his role at the WWF National Youth Council, Meija works to conserve endangered species and educate young people on various issues such as plastic pollution. And as a contributor to the National Geographic Your Shot, he has documented a number of incredible stories, from the receding glaciers of Patagonia to the critically-endangered dwarf buffalos. Adding to his portfolio is a documentary on wild foxes, which premiered in 2019.

Meija also has a weekly environmental column in The Manila Times and is currently pursuing a civil engineering degree at the University of the Philippines, aiming to become an environmental engineer who integrates art and science.

Hannah Reyes Morales

Gen.T List 2019

A photographer and National Geographic explorer, Hannah Reyes Morales tells reflective and intimate stories. Documenting tenderness amidst adversity, including forced marriages in Cambodia and the toll of the Philippine government's war on drugs, her photographs study how resilience is embodied in daily life.

Reyes Morales is part of the non-profit World Press Photo's 6/6 global talent programme, one of the UK Royal Photographic Society's 100 Photographic Heroes and was named a cultural leader by the World Economic Forum, giving a speech during its ASEAN Forum about the portrayal of women in the media.

More recently, she was awarded the 2019 Tim Hetherington Visionary Award and the 2020 ICP Infinity Award for Documentary Practice and Visual Journalism. Currently based in Manila, Reyes Morales' work further explores the universal themes of diaspora, survival and the bonds that tie humanity together.

See also: 5 Award-Winning Photographers Discuss The Power Of Photography To Evoke Global Change

Xyza Cruz Bacani

Gen.T List 2017

Xyza Cruz Bacani's story serves as an inspiration for many. Starting out as an Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) in Hong Kong, Bacani is now an internationally acclaimed photographer. During her time as a second-generation domestic helper in the city for almost a decade, Bacani spent her holidays traversing the city, snapping photos with her camera. 

Her hobby launched a prolific career, and today Bacani uses her work to raise awareness on underreported stories such as the intersection of labour migration and human rights. In 2015, she became a Magnum Foundation Photography and Social Justice Fellow and has won several awards for her work, exhibiting her photos globally. A collection of her photographs, We Are Like Air, was published in 2018.

See also: How Xyza Cruz Bacani Went From Migrant Worker To Internationally Acclaimed Photographer

See more creatives on the Gen.T List 2020


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