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Ryan Anson October 2, 2009

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Philippines.
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Wedding Preparations. Davao City, Philippines 2004

Ryan Anson (b. 1978, Kenya) is a freelance photojournalist based in San Francisco, CA.  Anson grew up in Kenya, and since 1998, has worked in 20 African, Asian, and Central American countries. A recipient of several journalism grants and fellowships, including from the International Reporting Project (2005) and the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting (2007 and 2008), Anson has published stories in a variety of magazines and newspapers such as The Washington Post, The New York Times, Newsweek, TIME-Asia, The Saturday Times Magazine (Times of London,) Smithsonian Magazine, and the San Francisco Chronicle.  Anson is currently developing a multimedia project that features his many years of work photographing Southeast Asia’s diverse Muslim minority communities.

About the Photograph:

In late 2001, I received a small seed grant and moved to the southern Philippines to document the various militant groups who have been waging both Marxist and Islamic insurgencies for more than three decades. My work initially concentrated on how the armed conflict routinely displaces local indigenous and Muslim communities.  In 2003, I began to focus more on the Islamic culture of this part of the Philippines, a mainly Catholic country made up of 7000 islands and incredibly diverse regional cultures. I shot this image in early 2004 during a wedding near Davao City where a small Muslim minority group called the Kalagan people live amidst millions of Catholic residents.   I was initially surprised that the bride let me in the changing room to spend time with she and her relatives as they applied the finishing touches to her dress and make-up.  However, like many Filipinos in this region, Joanna and her family welcomed me as a guest and allowed me to photograph them in a very intimate environment.  While there are pockets of conservative Muslim communities in the southern region of Mindanao, most families tend to blend a lot of Filipino customs and expressions of culture in their daily lives and sometimes in their practice of Islam.

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