We meet PortrAID photographer Xiomara Bender

Updated: Apr 13, 2021

Xiomara Bender, born in Basel in 1987 and now living in Berlin, is known for her unmistakable visual language. On her travels, she documents people in everyday situations, always with empathy and respect for the individual. Xiomara Bender's creative work has been awarded numerous national and international prizes - including the C / O Berlin Foundation "Close Up!", The London Fine Art Photography Award and the German Photo Book Prize 2018 in silver for her illustrated book "North Korea. The Power of Dreams ", which was published in 2016 by the renowned Kehrer Verlag.



With her uncompromising freedom from conventions, Bender lives an art in which ignorance is not an option. One where tolerance and authenticity are a form of expression. This unpretentious and authentic way of documenting people all over the world and her passion for foreign countries and cultures made her the perfect photographer for the third PortrAid series, initiated by Andrea Bury, the ABURY Foundation and Thomas Rusch: for "Get Art . Give Work. " Xiomara Bender photographed Ethiopian weavers in Addis Ababa. 38 resulting PortrAids are for sale and enable the buyer to finance a loom for the artisan and his family shown. The PortrAid series will be on display in the Leica Gallery in Nuremberg until April 2021.



Xiomara Bender, please describe yourself in three words.

Curious, passionate, thoughtful.


At ABURY everything is handmade because we believe that "hands tell stories". What do your hands say about you?

The story of a girl who was fortunate enough to have an extraordinary childhood, shaped from an early age by extensive journeys to some of the most remote and pristine landscapes, populations and nations on earth. In this way, at an age I was confronted with cultures and people that were very different from my own, which taught me to adapt naturally and to put my perspective on a new point of view that was not above, but at eye level with me brings people around me. I think this helped me gain unique photographic insights by using a universal language that was shaped by mutual respect and a natural curiosity. I expect things to be different when I move to a new place, so I always want to be enlightened rather than confused, bewitched rather than surprised by what I find.




What's the last thing you created with your hands (without holding a camera)? :)

Actually, hands and feet are my favorite body parts. I think that they make us human at the core and that they allow us to connect with others as well as to be ourselves. So I keep creating relationships with my hands


If you could choose, what would you like to be able to do with your hands?

There is this hidden dream that I have, and which I dream very vividly from time to time, to be a real rock and pop star performing in Woodstock. But believe me, I really can't sing. So aside from the voic