Devils A photography project by Conor Beary

“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

color photograph a man on the Yamuna river in india is rowing a boat surrounded by birds
© Saurabh Narang

2021 Street Photography AWARD Deadline: 30 September 2021

"It’s not the streets, it’s where the streets lead you that’s important." - Bruce Davidson

Extended Deadline: One of the most exciting and influential forms of photography, in September we are on the lookout for the best images capturing the pulse of the street.

From candid and unexpected situations to meticulous geometric scenes within the urban sphere, at home or abroad: we want to discover how YOU see the streets!⁠


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

Submit Now