The Photography Of Mattia Passarini: Portraying The Miao People

Sophia Francis

Uniquely capturing truly diverse, ethnically remote ranges of people – this is photographic artistry. Here is where Mattia Passarini’s passions lie, being a keen photographer and traveller to remote areas of the world. A man who is wholly fascinated by outlying lineages and the generational cultures that have endured for thousands of years, Passarini brings us the Miao people in a range of extraordinary photographs.

A Miao man

What we see in Passarini’s recent Remote People series is a powerful range of people, livestock and homes, all conveyed in chiaroscuro lighting and intriguing photographic angles. The effect of the photographer’s work is simply profound. One image, for instance, powerfully portrays a Miao woman adroitly carrying a baby upon her back as she walks amongst her livestock – it tells a story of toil, remote from the Western world.

Miao livestock

The subject of Passarini’s Remote People series, the Miao people, is one that comes with a deep history stretching as far back as the Qin and Han dynasties. The people are a large, Chinese ethnic minority spread across various regions such as Guizhou and Sichuan. They live in close-knit communities, communities that have migrated to different mountainous, cavernous areas of China. This makes the Miaos ethnically diverse, and something of an enigma. Passarini’s artistic photography captures the caves in which the Miaos live, the craggy terrains and the ways in which they have made settlements among the mountains.

A Miao home

Living in China, Mattia Passarini’s interests in the diversity of cultures is the very motivation that led him to travel and embark upon projects such as People and BlackandWhite. The photographer has won numerous awards, including an honourable mention in the National Geographic contest 2014. He has also exhibited in China and New York, the latter of which he received Best of Show in 2014.

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