The images Tariq Zaidi presents in his work were taken in context, in the communities in which people live. What you see in the photographs is what he saw.
Tariq has spent most of his life travelling. He has lived in ten countries on four continents. He has travelled independently to well over one hundred countries, including 33 in Africa alone. His perspective of the world around us is as much a traveller’s one as a photographer’s. His global and multi-cultural background shapes his outlook and his photography.
Tariq aims to inform his audience with true and compelling content that may, even in a small way, elevate the human spirit and change the way we think about ourselves and the world we live in.
Tariq Zaidi is a freelance photographer currently based in the UK. In 2014, he gave up an executive management position in an events business 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 independently assigns, funds, researches and writes his own work.
His first book Sapeurs: Ladies and Gentlemen of the Congo, published September 2020, was recognised by Pictures of the Year International (one of the most prestigious photojournalism competitions) as a Finalist for "Photography Book of the Year 2020". The book was also shortlisted for the 2022 African Photobook of the Year Award and selected by Vogue as one of the "Best Fashion Books of the Year 2020". Designed by Stuart Smith, published by Kehrer Verlag Germany and co-edition with Seigensha Art Publishing, Japan. The photobook is already on its second printing. Tariq's second book Sin Salida (No Way Out), was published by GOST Books, UK in October 2021. Zaidi's work documents the impacts of the notorious Mara Salvatrucha gang (MS-13) and its rival Barrio 18 gang members on El Salvador. By depicting the gang members, police, murder sites, funerals, and the governments war against the gangs, Zaidi illustrates the control the gangs have over the wider Salvadoran society, the violence through which they operate and the grief and loss resulting from the violence. In March 2022, Tariq's work on El Salvador was recognised by Pictures of the Year International for the Premier category of the "World Understanding Award". The work was also awarded 1st place in the Photojournalism Category by "Amnesty International's 2020 Media Awards" in recognition of Tariq's commitment to human rights.
Tariq's stories, images and videos from Afghanistan, Angola, Brazil, Cambodia, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Georgia, Haiti, Indonesia, Lebanon, Mongolia, North Korea, Republic of the Congo, South Sudan and Yemen have been featured over 1000 times in magazines, online or on television in more than 90 countries including BBC, The Guardian, CNN, National Geographic, Washington Post, Newsweek, Spiegel, Stern, El Pais, GEO, Los Angeles Times, Smithsonian Magazine, Chicago Tribune, Suddeutschen Zeitung, Zeit, Welt, Sydney Morning Herald, Vogue, Marie Claire, GQ, Esquire, Global Times China, Internazionale, VICE, Deutsche Welle, Corriere della Sera, National Geographic Traveler, Conde Nast Traveler, British Journal of Photography, Hindustan Times, Al Jazeera, 6Mois, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Independent, China Daily, Telegraph, Foreign Policy Magazine and Times of London among other respected international titles.
Tariq has been the recipient of over 50 major international photography awards (including nine POYi, nine IPA, five NPPA, two PDN, UNICEF, AMNESTY INT'L etc). His work has been shown in over 90 international exhibitions and he has worked on projects and assignments in 23 countries across 4 continents.
In 2016, Tariq was named as one of the "Top 10 Travel Portrait Photographers" you should know" by the International Photography Awards (IPA), focusing on social issues and inequality within various societies across the globe. In 2018, Tariq was awarded one of the Premier Awards in POY75 (Pictures of the Year International Competition) - "Photographer of the Year" Award of Excellence for his work from North Korea, Congo and Brazil. He was also awarded The Marty Forscher Fellowship Fund for outstanding achievement in Humanistic Photography, presented by PDN and Parsons School of Design, USA. In 2019, he was nominated to the Prix Pictet. In 2020, his work from Congo, El Salvador and Georgia was recognised 5 times by POY77 (Pictures of the Year International Competition) including 1st place Portraits Series, 2nd place Spot News and 3rd Place Issue Reporting. In Sep 2020, Tariq's work entitled "Sapeurs: Ladies and Gentlemen of the Congo" was shown at Visa Pour L'image, International Festival of Photojournalism.
Tariq is currently working on multiple projects, including a long-term personal monograph titled "Capturing the Human Spirit", which is a visual anthology about hope, dignity, and community in some of the poorest regions of the world. Images from the first three chapters of this work made in the slum communities of Haiti, Brazil, and Cambodia were featured at Visa Pour L'image, International Festival of Photojournalism, in September 2018.
Tariq is a self-taught photographer and holds an M.Sc. (Master of Science) from University College London, UK. His work is represented by Zuma Press (USA), Caters News Agency (UK) and Getty Images (UK). He is an Eddie Adams Worksop 2015 Alumini.
Going back to his early roots as a teacher. Tariq continues his passion for education and has taught courses on photojournalism, documentary photography and advanced photography, at the prestigious Central Saint Martins and London College of Communications, University of the Arts London, and other photographic institutions in Europe. He also presents his work at conferences, seminars and universities internationally.