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tariq zaidi
Sapeurs: Ladies and Gentlemen of the Congo © Tariq Zaidi | Image source internet

Tariq Zaidi

Tariq Zaidi is a freelance photographer currently based out of London, UK. In 2014, he gave up an executive management position to pursue his passion of capturing the dignity, strength and soul of people, within their environment. His photography focuses on documenting social issues, inequality, traditions and endangered communities around the world.

Tariq has worked in 21 countries across 4 continents, mainly in the developing world. His work has been shown in over 80 international exhibitions, and has been featured internationally, including: The Guardian, BBC, CNN, National Geographic, The Washington Post, Spiegel, GEO, El Pais, LA Times, GQ, Marie Claire, Vogue, Esquire and Smithsonian Magazine, among other respected international titles.

Tariq’s work has also been recognised through a number of prestigious awards including Pictures of the Year International Competition, Marty Forscher Fellowship Fund for Humanistic Photography (Parsons School of Design), NPPA, UNICEF Photo of the Year, IPA, Amnesty International Media Awards and PDN Photo Annual.

Tariq’s work is represented by Zuma Press (USA), Caters News Agency (UK) and Getty Images (UK).

His first book “Sapeurs: Ladies and Gentlemen of the Congo” was published in August 2020.

In Sapeurs: Ladies and Gentlemen of the Congo Tariq Zaidi presents a fashion subculture of Kinshasa & Brazzaville: La Sape, Société des Ambianceurs et des Personnes Élégantes (Society of Ambiance-Makers and Elegant People). Its followers are known as »Sapeurs« (»Sapeuses« for women). Most have ordinary day jobs as taxi-drivers, tailors and gardeners, but as soon as they clock off they transform themselves into debonair dandies. Sashaying through the streets they are treated like rock stars – turning heads, bringing ‘joie de vivre’ to their communities and defying their circumstances. Traditionally passed down through the male line, many Congolese women and their children have recently begun donning designer suits. As Papa Wemba (1949-2016, Congolese singer and fashion icon who popularized Sape) once said: »White people invented the clothes, but we make an art of it.«

Published on September 14, 2021
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