Phyllis Galembo (American, born 1952)

galembo_smFor more than 20 years, photographer Phyllis Galembo has traveled through Africa and its diaspora, visiting cities and remote villages in search of festivals, carnivals, and masquerade ceremonies. To capture her images, Galembo begins at dawn, setting up lights and tripods facing a wall or other neutral backdrop. Then she allows subjects to pose themselves. Throughout her travels, the artist has captured people adorned in everything from body paint, colorful headdresses, and raffia skirts to cardboard masks and animal carcasses, discovering cross-cultural connections along the way. “What I want to do most of all is document how people can live a tolerable life under harsh conditions,” Galembo has said. “As an artistic onlooker I am fascinated by all the beauty that survives in the very poorest slums on our planet.”

American, b. 1952, New York, New York, based in New York, New York