Conor Beary Devils

“It is said that if you photograph the Bush Devils, the pictures won’t come out”

The Dancing Devils of Liberia are masked performers who represent different tribal demons and deities. All belonging to the Poro (men) and Sande (women) community, they are relics of traditional Juju worship belief systems that were dominant in West Africa before the introduction of Christianity.

The communities they belong to have long been a part of the culture of certain ethnic groups that constitute present-day Liberia. In the Poro context, the dancing devils are not regarded as evil — they have the ability to inflict punishment on individuals, though this is only used to bring order to society. The devils used to dance only at traditional festivals, though with the arrival of the freed and freeborn American settlers in the 1800s, they brought their dance to imported Christian holiday celebrations such as Christmas.

Despite the devils’ ability to adapt, the christian Americans became the ruling class and pushed these unorthodox traditional customs to the underground. The Devils themselves do not necessarily represent evil, Christian missionaries demonized previous belief systems hence the term Devil.

– Discover more of Conor’s work here

Monthly Photo Contest

People Portrait photograph man with orange clothes standing before bridge
© MD Tanveer Rohan

THEME: PEOPLE Deadline: 31 October 2019

“It is more important to click with people
than to click the shutter.”
- Alfred Eisenstaedt

From all the corners of the world, across all cultures and borders: this month we want to discover and celebrate the diversity of the human race.

Be it fashion, portrait, street, documentary or any other form of photography that tells the story of people, there are very little boundaries and we are open to all approaches.

Join the award and show us your best characters!


1st Prize: $1000 · 2nd Prize: $600 · 3rd Prize: $400

Submit Now