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The Female Photographers Breaking Boundaries And The Stories That Matter

Photography has always treated us well here at Ummahsonic.

It’s introduced us to artists and creators we might have otherwise missed while, exposing everyone who reads the site to stories most of us would’ve never thought to seek out.

Like snaps of Eid al-Adha in Ghana; or a series challenging perceptions of Somalia; or shots of a little girl training to be a Karate champ in the middle of Aleppo. Photography, like all good art, inspires and educates.

This week, we wanted to look at two female photographers whose work not only brings us the stories that matter, but reflects a wider challenge to convention.

Adek Berry

Adek Berry is a photojournalist from Jakarta, Indonesia.

Over her 10 years-and-counting career, she has covered some significant global events for the global newswire Agence France-Presse. We’re talking Kim Jong Un’s visit to Singapore, the 2018 tsunami in Indonesia, and the recovery of the ill-fated Lion Air flight that crashed into the Java Sea—and that’s only in the past year.

As a photojournalist, Berry’s work shapes the agenda for a global news cycle and often provides visual evidence for breaking stories that have yet to be verified. And amidst all this pressure and risk, she is something of a rarity.

Berry is a Muslim woman who wears a hijab. According to the New York Times, “there are still very few women working on assignment for the major international wire services. Over the last five years, women have consistently accounted for about 15 percent of the entries to the prestigious World Press Photo awards.”

By going about her work, Berry is not only creating a launching pad for vital storytelling but reshaping a profession that has historically been dominated by, as photojournalist Lynsey Addario once put it, “a rugged white man with a scarf around his neck and ‘a 3.5 on the electric razor.’”

Check out some of Berry’s photos below:

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Pacu Jawi, Pariangan, Tanah Datar, West Sumatra.

A post shared by Adek Berry (@berryadek) on

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1938-2018. #AFPPhoto #Sultengbangkit#Sultengkembali

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Reach…reach! Gold n Silver.

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Ayesha Malik

Photographer Ayesha Malik grew up in Dhahran Camp, a town that was originally built in the Saudi Arabian desert to house the American employees of Saudi Aramco (formerly the Arabian American Oil Company), the largest oil company in the world and reportedly the most profitable company in existence.

In an effort to combat homesickness, the designers transposed all the trappings of a typical American suburb into Dhahran, turning a spot in the Saudi desert into a land of picket fences and baseball diamonds.

Malik, who now lives in New York City, documented the community in her 2017 project ARAMCO: Above the Oilfields. Nowadays, expat workers are outnumbered by Saudi employees in Dhahran, but the American influences remain.

What this reveals is a bizarre intersection of cultures and habits, where notions of national identity are, on the surface at least, overshadowed by a sort of prefab harmony.

While Malik’s work might not constitute breaking news, it certainly tells a story about big business, global power, race and religion, culture, reality, unreality….so, pretty much everything important if we’re honest.

Check out some of the shots below:

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Latifa with her daughter, Juriyah, before a soccer game. …soon with #daylightbooks "ARAMCO: Above the Oil Fields" Ayesha Malik delivers a personalized account of life within Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, a gated community originally created as a home for American employees of the Arabian American Oil Company, now known as Saudi Aramco. Almost everyone is connected to this small town which houses the world's wealthiest company with the world's largest energy reserves. Malik's photographs raise conversations about perception and preconceived ideas regarding a home that is neither fully Saudi nor fully American. Malik shares the surprising warmth, familiarity, and timelessness of this twenty-two and a half square mile place that so many Aramcons call home. #abovetheoilfields #dhahran #saudiarabia #ksa #saudiaramco #aramco

A post shared by Ayesha Malik (@ayeshamalikphoto) on

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Summer at Third Street track. …soon with #daylightbooks "ARAMCO: Above the Oil Fields" Ayesha Malik delivers a personalized account of life within Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, a gated community originally created as a home for American employees of the Arabian American Oil Company, now known as Saudi Aramco. Almost everyone is connected to this small town which houses the world's wealthiest company with the world's largest energy reserves. Malik's photographs raise conversations about perception and preconceived ideas regarding a home that is neither fully Saudi nor fully American. Malik shares the surprising warmth, familiarity, and timelessness of this twenty-two and a half square mile place that so many Aramcons call home. #abovetheoilfields #dhahran #saudiarabia #ksa #saudiaramco #aramco

A post shared by Ayesha Malik (@ayeshamalikphoto) on

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Mysk in her bedroom with her Beanie Babies collection. …soon with #daylightbooks "ARAMCO: Above the Oil Fields" Ayesha Malik delivers a personalized account of life within Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, a gated community originally created as a home for American employees of the Arabian American Oil Company, now known as Saudi Aramco. Almost everyone is connected to this small town which houses the world's wealthiest company with the world's largest energy reserves. Malik's photographs raise conversations about perception and preconceived ideas regarding a home that is neither fully Saudi nor fully American. Malik shares the surprising warmth, familiarity, and timelessness of this twenty-two and a half square mile place that so many Aramcons call home. #abovetheoilfields #dhahran #saudiarabia #ksa #saudiaramco #aramco

A post shared by Ayesha Malik (@ayeshamalikphoto) on

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