Date
27 July 2017
Xyza Bacani has won more recognition for her photos that document the lives of ordinary people, particularly foreign domestic workers. Credits: http://www.pdns30.com, Facebook/Xyza Cruz Bacani
Xyza Bacani has won more recognition for her photos that document the lives of ordinary people, particularly foreign domestic workers. Credits: http://www.pdns30.com, Facebook/Xyza Cruz Bacani

Filipino maid turned photographer wins fresh acclaim

Xyza Cruz Bacani, the Filipino domestic worker turned photographer, has won fresh acclaim for her work that documents everyday streetlife in Hong Kong, particularly on aspects related to the lives of foreign maids. 

After bagging several laurels in recent years, including a spot on BBC’s 100 Women of the World list, Bacani has just been named by a US magazine as a photographer to watch out for in 2017.

Photography magazine Photo District News has identified Bacani as one of the 30 New and Emerging Photographers to Watch in 2017, picking from a shortlist of 300 photographers from around the world.

It marks fresh recognition for the former Hong Kong maid, who is now 30, helping her life change dramatically from her humble beginnings. 

Bacani began working for a household in Hong Kong when she was 19, taking up the job in a bid support her family members back home in the Philippines.

Developing a passion for photography, she used to spend her off-time taking photos on the streets with a single-lens reflex camera that she bought with the help of a loan from her employer.

On her weekly day off and on public holidays, Bacani used her camera to capture evocative pictures of ordinary people, particularly foreign domestic workers, and sharing them via Facebook.

In 2014, Rick Rocamora, a photographer in San Francisco, saw her photos and praised her work in an article published in The New York Times. The media spotlight changed the maid’s life forever.

After that, Bacani not only won several international photography awards, she was also picked as one of the BBC’s 100 Women of the World in 2015, as standnews.com noted. 

Bacani quit her job as a maid in 2015 after she became a Magnum Foundation Human Rights Fellow that year and was offered a scholarship to study photography in the US.

She then decided to pursue her dream, with support from her family and her employer.

Now she is a freelance photographer, contributing pictures to The New York Times, South China Morning Post and other media outlets.

New York Times photographer James Estrin has described Bacani’s work as heartfelt and full of empathy, especially the photos which she took to document the lives of foreign maids in Hong Kong.

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TL/AC/RC

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