2015 Emerging Photography Contender: Xiomara Bender

For North Korea // The power of the dream in the face of the trauma, Berlin-based photographer Xiomara Bender cuts beneath the prejudgements and propaganda that so often surround discussions of North Korea to reveal a quiet, deeply human side of a nation so often obscured from view. 

Writes Bender in her Artist Statement, “Pictures do have the power of simplifying the indescribable, where in this apparently faceless country, they can also help reveal diverse stories behind a carefully maintained facade: Faces telling of sorrows and anxieties, desires and dreams of the individuals, in stark contrast to the decreed collective felicity. 

“On the road with the camera in a country where casually taken pictures could mean painful repressions for the people in front of the camera, always accompanied by an official tour guide on routes defined by the government, only short glances or fleeting smiles were offered and gave access to very simple people. People who I like to think live through the power of their dream and need help to find a way out of their isolation and into the world. ”

All images © Xiomara Bender

Each week, Feature Shoot editors showcase the work of one photographer who has applied to the Emerging Photography Awards in order to highlight the diverse array of applications we receive. This is not an endorsement of the photographer for the award.

Apply to the Feature Shoot 2015 Emerging Photography Awards here. It pays to apply early, as we will be featuring some of our favorite submissions right here and over our social media channels.