Documentary Projects

From commissions in Haiti, Papua New Guinea, Ethiopia, D.R. Congo, South Africa, Togo and Uganda, Li brings a rare sensibility to assignments. By forging relationships with local communities, she reveals a more intimate and genuine representation of her subjects.

Li completed a photo assignment for the Inter-American Development Bank in Haiti where she was commissioned to take a variety of photographs documenting the bank’s infrastructure, agriculture, transport and socio-economic projects throughout the country and their effects on the Haitian people. The images were used as an important visual aid in various reports given to IDB Governors, stakeholders and the general public.

Read a full interview about her assignment on the Leica Camera blog: Documenting Haiti Through Empathetic Eyes

On the Papua New Guinea RoadLi’s photos illustrate a report that draws attention to the Chinese intrusion into an isolated part of Papua New Guinea. The mine they were building exports natural minerals out of the country for Chinese use. Photos were featured in a story by journalist Michael Deibert.

Li photographed Faces of Ethiopia - a project recognizing the role of religion, ritual and modern politics in an ancient society. Photos were used by the Inter Press Service for articles about food security and the political landscape.

Empowerment Through Art was a program designed, taught and documented by Li. The program instructed adults and children in Uganda, Togo, the USA and UK the benefits of art as a therapeutic medium of expression to aid emotional and social development, promote awareness, and empower communities. People affected by HIV/AIDS, poverty and other related issues gained opportunities for creative fulfillment, reducing stigma, the openness to display repressed emotions and the chance to develop talents and uplift confidence levels. Organizations involved: Plan International, Plan USA, Plan UK, Plan Uganda and Plan Togo.

Video  Watch the short film: Empowerment Through Art

Li documented Think Impact’s (formerly known as Student Movement for Real Change) first exchange program that promoted U.S. college students in assisting local communities in teaching science and mathematics classes, directing community health days, building libraries and football fields. The organization used Li’s photos and film to market and expand their program to a wider audience. In tandem with Think Impact, The Buffelshoek Trust develops the basic living standards of the people in the Manyeleti villages in the Limpopo Province of South Africa. The organization hired Li to film and edit a short documentary to capture their achievements.

Video  Watch the short film: Think Impact in South Africa
Video  Watch the short film: Turning Dust into Dreams

Li founded Artfully AWARE (AfA) and served as its Executive Director. AfA used creativity as an important tool for social improvement and emotional recovery of persons who experienced traumatic events, disabilities or inadequate living conditions. AfA maintained Special Consultative Status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and was a member of the Clinton Global Initiative and the United Nations Global Compact. Her photographs document the programs, and many were used as part of innovative community development projects and exhibited at advocacy events in the USA, Europe and Africa.