The MAPS’s Collective


Humanitarian Alternatives is widening the furrow of its partnership with photographers. Because the sensitivity that emerges from the work already done by MAPS’s 12 photographers echoes this fundamental concern of humanitarians –  to see the world as it is –, we present here a selection of their photographs.

Newcomer in the landscape –  it was launched in September 2017 –, MAPS is a collective proposing new approaches of storytelling to address the world’s changing environment and societies. It brings together photographers and creatives to make remarkable projects traversing the quotidian world. At its core are collective projects that inspire a greater consciousness, that serve general interest, knowledge and awareness.

The structure is a creative laboratory combining the assets of a photo agency and the strengths of a collective. It values a variety of photographic vocabularies. United by common concerns facing our world, MAPS convenes diverse and multidisciplinary sets of expertise to initiate conversations, explore new and interdisciplinary boundaries and collaborations.

MAPS is a group of individuals worldwide, currently consisting of:

  • international photographers, with various backgrounds and interests, each with a unique photographic voice;
  • creative, experienced professionals, with expertise in different fields, including curation, editing, communication, education, sales, design and management;
  • dynamic guest contributors, adding alternative, creative and strategic dimensions to the projects: journalists, artists, web specialists, etc.



 © Alessandro Penso/MAPS

European Dream

Lesbos, Greece 2015. 

A mother and child are wrapped in an emergency blanket after disembarking on the beach of Kayia, on the north of the Greek island of Lesbos.

According to UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees), approximately 850,000 refugees and migrants, including children, arrived in Greece by sea in 2015. Of these, just over 500,000 landed on Lesbos, a Greek island around eight nautical miles from the Turkish coast. Although at the centre of migration flows, Lesbos had nothing to offer to refugees, asylum seekers and migrants, and was the beginning of another harsh journey.


 © Cédric Gerbehaye/MAPS

Maqbooza Kashmir

State of Jammu and Kashmir 2017.

Relatives are grieving Mohammad Dagga who was killed by a stone thrown by protesters as he was obliged by the army to transport the elections ballot during the election day.

About 70,000 people have died in Kashmir since the beginning of the separatist insurgencies in 1989. A new wave of violent insurrection is now shaking the region, in response to the systematic repression of the Indian army. Nowadays 600,000 Indian troops are deployed in this region of 12 million inhabitants. The Kashmiri rebels took up arms and entered the spiral of violence. On July 8, 2017, the death of the charismatic rebel Burhan Wani has only made the situation worse. Many young people turn to radical Islam.


© Christian Lutz/MAPS

Tropical Gift

Nigeria 2010.

This photographic essay captures the closed world of Nigeria’s oil and gas industry. It conveys the malaise borne by civil societies that endure the consequences of these highly lucrative financial interests. The result is a bitter statement that tackles the unequal power relations between the dominators and dominated – a dark picture of how the overly abundant mineral resources of Africa are being exploited.

It documents this relation through two angles. On the one hand, the expatriated businessmen from the capital Abudja in their private life, at work and amid negotiations with Nigerian state employees. On the other hand, the local pollution in the Niger Delta, wherein lies the oil.

  © Dominique Nahr/MAPS

Fractured State

Leer, South Sudan 2015

Thousands of South Sudanese from the nearby region wait in line for a distribution in the otherwise empty and destroyed Leer in Unity State. During the last 24 months of the conflict, Unity State has witnessed the brunt of the fighting. In April 2015 after a rise in fighting in Unity, thousands of civilians were forced to flee into the bush, swamps or put themselves under the protection of the UN.


© Gaël Turine/MAPS

The wall and the fear

Bangladesh August 2012.

A train line goes along the border with India for a few kilometres and has two stops in border cities. A passenger is expecting to meet his local contact to take some Indian goods (clothes, toys, medicines, sun glasses, spices…) onboard. He will then sale them in another city’s market. He must be very careful of the Border Guards Bangladesh (BGB) who arrest and beat severely those people considered as traffickers.

The separation wall between India and Bangladesh is severely guarded. The official reasons given by India are the protection against infiltrations of Islamist terrorists and stopping Bangladeshi immigration. The number of arrests, victims of torture and casualties have made this frontier one of the most dangerous in the world. Despite the complaints of the victim’s families, the crimes perpetrated remain mostly unpunished.

© Hannah Reyes Morales/MAPS

The drug war

Manila, Philippines 2016.

Men are seen sleeping inside a crowded jail on Wednesday, December 14, 2016 in Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines. As more men are arrested for drug use under the President of the Republic Rodrigo Duterte’s “War on Drugs”, jails become congested, and friends and families of inmates report men refusing permissions to go out in fear of being killed by the police.

Duterte has been widely criticized by international human rights organizations for his “War on Drugs” which has taken thousands of lives since he took office, but his approval rating remains positive among the majority of Filipinos, especially the poor and the working class.


© John Trotter/MAPS

No Agua, No Vida 

Colorado River, USA and Mexico 2014

Local environmentalist, Juan Butron, pretends to drink water from the dry channel of the Colorado River as he goes looking for the leading edge of the slowly moving pulse flow of water from the Morelos Dam, a few kilometers upstream.

As a consequence of the sweeping human alteration, the Colorado River was greatly reduced from what it once was.

© John Vink/MAPS

Women at the forefront of resistance

Phnom Penh, Cambodia 2013.

Triggered by land rights issues and evictions, a number of women, directly impacted by the injustice they were inflicted with, have for more than 10 years stood up against the authorities. Relentlessly speaking up, these ordinary women demonstrate in the street dozens of times and confronting police forces, never giving up in their quest for justice.

© Justyna Mielnikiewicz/MAPS

A Ukraine runs through it

Dnipropetrovsk [actual Dnipro], Ukraine 2014.

Two roma sisters Ruslana and Milana are taking the evening stroll along the Dnieper River. A couple of days ago the family was attacked by armed and masked man in Slavyansk, separatist stronghold. Here in Dniepropetrovsk, in Central Ukraine, those girls feel safer.

The Dnieper river is a symbolic line of reference of the present split in the country. It tells the realities of the whole country, shows the wider political, historical and geographical context.

© Massimo Berruti/MAPS

Drops of water

Gaza, Beit Hanoun 2015

A girl and her younger brother are fetching drinking water from the closest drinking water distribution point. Water, the most vital resource, is becoming increasingly scarce. Despite the help of the international community, a large part of the population remains deprived of drinking water. Already outdated water distribution systems and electrical installations have been further damaged by the ongoing conflict. The destruction of part of the sewers led to the contamination of drinking water. This issue of water is becoming more and more worrying, and could become, in the near future, one further factor of conflict.






© Matthieu Gafsou/MAPS

Only God can judge me

Lausanne, Switzerland 2014.

This immersion in Lausanne’s drug scene documents the life of addicts. The dignified portraits of longtime drug abusers with their sharp-featured faces stirringly personalize a social problem.

Hard documentary close-ups of drug packets, drug paraphernalia, aseptic drug consumption rooms or surveillance cameras provide a direct impression of the addicts’ daily struggle for survival. By contrast, the poetic photographs of the scene’s nocturnal showplaces allow viewers to intuit the desirable sides of the high.

© Matthieu Gafsou/MAPS


Somaliland, Kenya and Ethiopia 2015.

 For over 200 million women around the world, the passage from infancy to adulthood is marked by the blood of female genital mutilations (FGM).

Some women unite in coalitions to eradicate this harmful practice, often paying a high price for the courage to speak out in patriarchal societies. It is a collective story that sews together several tales of pain, of hard fights for women’s rights and, in many cases, of success and empowerment.

To read the article in PDF click here.

ISBN of the article (HTML): 978-2-37704-348-4