Alexis Pazoumian

Top 10 10 Inspiring Photo Series

© Alexis Pazoumian

“The world makes up my pictures, not me.” – Lee Friedlander

─── by Josh Bright, July 19, 2022
  • We’ve surveyed our stories archive and selected 10 inspiring photo series from across the globe. The stories section of our online magazine serves as a space for showcasing exciting projects from some of the most talented and creative practitioners of today, exemplified in these 10 fascinating projects, which we believe attest to the profound potential of the photographic medium.

    Travel photography by Patrick Wack, from the series Out West. A young Uighur-minority seasonal worker poses on the last days of the cotton harvest in Luntai county, Xinjiang, China
    © Patrick Wack

    1. Out West – Patrick Wack (FR)

    The American West evokes a litany of vivid imagery and iconography, an arid hinterland, punctuated by pastel-hued motels, gas stations, and one-horse towns. It is a well-explored subject within the photographic realm, including, by some of the medium’s most famed figures, yet comparatively, the Chinese equivalent is considerably more amorphous.

    It was this, that inspired French documentary photographer Patrick Wack to travel to Xinjiang, China’s westernmost region, with the aim of capturing its essence, in the manner that so many of his iconic American predecessors did in their homeland. Literally translated as ‘New frontier’, Xinjiang was once home to the first leg of the silk road, the conduit that connected China to the lands of Central Asia, and Europe. Vast and fascinating, Wack captures the mosaic of diverse, rugged landscapes, minority faiths, and often maligned cultures, distinct from the dominant Han Chinese. His thoughtful, medium-format imagery is permeated with almost palpable tension and mystique, and collectively, paints an absorbing and nuanced portrait of a region that has largely been omitted from popular perceptions of modern China.

    Wack recently published a follow-up to the project, The Night is Thick, documenting the ongoing political situation in the region, specifically, the persecution of its Turcic minorities, and a monograph featuring the entirety of his work in the region, entitled Dust, is available now via, André Frère Éditions’s.

    – See more from the series here

    color photo of people in Brazil by Alex Almeida
    © Alex Almeida

    2. Brazil Tropical Light – Alex Almeida (BR)

    Brazil is one of the most ethnically heterogeneous countries on earth, yet many minority groups are excluded from mainstream society and routinely face discrimination, mistreatment, and oppression. Informed by a deep humanism and a burning desire to honestly transcribe the world around him, Brazilian documentary photographer Alex Almeida has spent several decades traversing some of his home country’s most peripheral locations.

    From the heart of the Amazon rainforest to the urban centers of the north, he chronicles a tapestry of cultures and traditions, from indigenous Amazonian communities whose land and way of life are increasingly under threat, to African diasporic groups who remain largely sidelined from the dominant discourse.

    Evoking the works of some of the medium’s greatest practitioners, Almeida captures candid moments of quotidian life, religious ceremonies, and cultural celebrations, with honesty, perceptivity, and an extraordinary eye for light and color, paying tribute to the incredible diversity of this unique and captivating land.

    – See more from the series here

    man standing on a mountain color portrait photography in the Caribbean island of Nevis, by Catherine Hyland
    © Catherine Hyland

    3. Wait-And-See Pudding With Patience Sauce  – Catherine Hyland (UK)

    London-based photographer Catherine Hyland captures striking, thought-provoking images that explore the complex and often tumultuous relationship between humanity and the natural world.

    Wait-And-See Pudding With Patience Sauce, depicts the small Caribbean isle of Nevis. Hyland’s detail-rich medium format imagery displays remarkable acuity and skill; her apperception of light, and use of analog format, engender veristic hues, that befit the straightforward nature of the series. A refreshing alternative to utopiac renditions of the Caribbean, Hyland portrays real people, in a real place, one caught between tradition and modernity that still bears the scars of colonialism and slavery.

    – See more from the series here

    greece woman portrait photography in color by mihaela noroc, the atlas of beauty series
    © Mihaela Noroc

    4. The Atlas of Beauty – Mihaela Noroc (RO)

    “Real beauty has no bounds. One can find it anywhere, in a village or in a skyscraper, in a gesture, in an intense gaze or in some wrinkles: Real beauty is in our differences.”

    Since 2013 Romanian photographer Mihaela Noroc has traveled the world photographing everyday women, with one express aim: to showcase that beauty has no borders. Intimate and honest, as befitting of high-quality portraiture, Mihaela captures the subjects in their natural surroundings, affording them a familiarity and thus a sense of comfort, a considerable challenge due to the punctilios nature of the format. The result is a truly compelling body of work that emphatically realizes the photographer’s intentions.

    – See more from the series here

    Travel photography portrait by Frédéric Lagrange. Man on a boat, Kashmir, India
    © Frédéric Lagrange

    5. Kashmir – Frédéric Lagrange (FR)

    French-born Frédéric Lagrange, is an award-winning, Brooklyn-based photographer, whose resonant depictions of the world’s most remote regions, and the communities who inhabit them, impart the astonishing beauty and rich diversity of our planet.

    His absorbing portrayals of Kashmir, the northernmost geographical region of the Indian subcontinent, typifies his work, the series of portraits, and landscapes, together, capturing the essence of this beautiful, and often tumultuous land. His mastery of light, truly does justice to its captivating beauty, rendering the subjects with extraordinary detail and veracity and thus engendering a painting-like quality that evokes Steve McCurry’s iconic depictions of the region.

    – See more from the series here

    Travel photography, landscape by Chiara Zonca
    © Chiara Zonca

    6. American Psychedelia – Chiara Zonca (IT)

    “I am interested in barren, mystical, untinged territories; places that challenge my perception of the earth until it becomes somewhere completely unfamiliar.”

    American Phsychadelia by Vancouver-based Italian photographer Chiara Zonca, is not a portrayal of an actual tangible place, but rather, a visual poem, in which the rugged American landscape serves as both a metaphor for the liberating power of the natural world and as a vehicle to study the ‘passage of time’.

    The vast, vacant landscapes, beautifully framed, and captured in all their earthen glory, possess a surreal, otherwordly quality, that arrests and intrigues, and serve as a counterweight to the freneticism of the urban setting that Zonca (who previously lived in Milan and London) and indeed, many of us, inhabit.

    – See more from the series here

    Travel photography, portrait by Alexis Pazoumian
    © Alexis Pazoumian

    7. Sacha – Alexis Pazoumian (AR)

    Between 2017­ and 2019, French-Armenian photographer Alexis Pazoumian traversed the remote wilds of eastern Siberia and documented the everyday life of Sacha, a reindeer herder in search of freedom and independence.

    Characterized by sensitivity, honesty, and an impressive apperception of light, Paxoumian’s arresting images articulate the wild beauty of this remote corner of the world, and though the isolation of such an existence is apparent, one cannot help but appreciate the beauty of a simple and austere existence, albeit once that is becoming progressively challenging due to the exponential threat of climate change.

    – See more from the series here

    color portrait and landscape photo of a cowboy riding his horse by Luis Fabini. From the editorial, 10 inspiring photo series
    © Luis Fabini

    8. Cowboys of the Americas – Luis Fabini (UR)

    “The gaucho is the land he treads upon.”

    Over the course of a decade, (beginning in 2005) Uruguayan photographer Luis Fabini, made a succession of trips around the American continent, to document those who continue the long-standing tradition of working with horses.  The Gauchos of Uruguay and Argentina; the Pantaneiros and Vaqueros of Brazil; the Chagras of Ecuador; Mexican Charros, and the cowboys of the US and Canada.

    Immersing himself in their life and culture, Fabini’s captured these intrepid outliers with extraordinary clarity. His forthright images, expertly rendered in both color and monochrome, convey, not only the deep reverence the men have for their practice, but the profound bond they share with their steeds.

    – See more from the series here

    Farhad Rahman travel photography, man on beach, Bangladesh
    © Farhad Rahman

    9. Song of a Coast – Farhad Rahman (BAN)

    Though many documentarians spend their time traversing the globe in search of subjects to investigate, often (particularly in recent years, due to the restrictions on international travel), practitioners have found the most compelling stories closer to home. Such was the case for Bangladeshi photographer Farhad Rahman, who, while exploring the coastal regions of his homeland, stumbled upon the small town of Kuakata.

    Like many traditional coastal communities, the people of Kuakata, are heavily reliant on both the sea and the adjacent land, and, due to rising tides, their very existence is under threat. Portraying both people and landscape, bathed in the iridescent light of the tropical sun, Rahman captures the community with rare veracity and grace. Poetic yet instructive, it is a profoundly absorbing body of work that artfully articulates the actualities of life for the people of Kuakata, who can be seen as a microcosm for other such communities across the globe.

    – See more from the series here

    The Tsaatan people, Mongolia, photography series by Madoka Ikegami, reindeer herders
    © Madoka Ikegami

    10. Tsaatan People – Madoka Ikegami (JP)

    Tsaatan People by Beijing-based, Japanese photographer Madoka Ikegami, portrays Mongolia’s last remaining groups of nomadic reindeer herders, whose millennia-old traditions are increasingly under threat.

    Ikegami’s imagery depicts the eponyms of the story as they go about their daily lives. Each generation is present, the elders, diligently go about their work; the younger children play in the rugged natural environment. And throughout all images, one constant: the majestic reindeer with whom the Tsaatan share a deep, long-standing, and interdependent bond.

    – See more from the series here


    All images © their respective owners


    NB: The 2022 Travel Photography Award is open for entries until August 31.
    Enter here.