BBC 100 Women 2015: A journey from maid to photographer

Xyza Bacani's life changed when she won a scholarship to study and practise photography in New York.

Previously employed as a domestic worker in Hong Kong, she became interested in photography as a way of recording her fellow workers' lives - and the abuses they were subjected to.

Ms Bacani tells her story to BBC 100 Women.

Image copyright Xyza Bacani
Image caption "I come from a village in the far north of the Philippines. This photo of a fisherman’s family playing on the beach reminds me of my own family before we were fractured by migration. We were poor but we were whole," says Ms Bacani.
Image copyright Xyza Bacani
Image caption "I left the Philippines at 19 to start work as a maid and nanny in Hong Kong and looked after six children in total. I fell in love with the city’s vibe - very different from where I come from. I started doing street photography as a hobby," she says.
Image copyright Xyza Bacani
Image caption "I moved from street photography to documentary photography, focusing on Hong Kong’s large domestic worker population," Ms Bacani adds.
Image copyright Xyza Bacani
Image caption "When I started visiting abused domestic workers in Bethune House Migrant Women's Refuge - like Shirley here - I realised that I was in a privileged position to give them a voice," says the photographer.
Image copyright Xyza Bacani
Image caption "Shirley’s back was scalded by boiling soup in an accident at her employers’ home after which her contract was abruptly terminated," Ms Bacani explains.
Image copyright Xyza Bacani
Image caption "I started doing reportage during Hong Kong's pro-democracy 'Umbrella Movement' protests last year. I photographed every single night because I wanted to record history as it unfolded," Ms Bacani adds.
Image copyright Xyza Bacani
Image caption "I wanted to record the intimate moments of the movement too, such as this man, fast asleep on the street at 04:00 in the morning," she says.
Image copyright Xyza Bacani
Image caption "My life changed when I won a Magnum Foundation scholarship and moved to New York City earlier this year. The subway is my favourite place in New York," she adds.
Image copyright Xyza Bacani
Image caption "Here a group of trafficking victims in Jersey City are having a barbeque party. I wanted to show them going about their everyday lives in order to not just portray them as victims," adds Ms Bacani.
Image copyright Xyza Bacani
Image caption "I recently spent a week in Missouri on a scholarship where I learned how to branch out from reportage to the art of capturing seemingly small moments, like this lady reading the Bible at home," she says.

100 Women 2015

This year's season features two weeks of inspirational stories about the BBC's 100 Women this year and others who are defying stereotypes around the world.

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