PHOTOGRAPHY – Domestic Worker & Photographer Xyza Cruz Bacani

Filipino domestic worker Xyza Cruz Bacani shares her black and white street photography with HK Helpers Campaign.

Xyza had been working for an ageing Chinese-Australian woman in a wealthy part of Hong Kong. However, this month she was awarded the Magnum Foundation Human Rights scholarship and is begin studying at New York University…

In a city where abuse is common, Xyza was paid overtime during her time as a domestic worker. The extra money was spent on her cameras, lenses and film.

Xyza is 27 and grew up in Nueva Vizcaya. She studied nursing but joined her mother as a helper in Hong Kong almost nine years ago.

She first discovered photography in the Philippines during her studies.

She bought her first Nikon D90 with a loan from her boss a few years after she moved to Hong Kong.

In a feature for the New York times, she said that “when you see the light, you need to press the shutter… Or else it’s gone.”

Although she speaks Cantonese, Xyza says she does not have many local or domestic worker friends. As a ‘lone wolf’, she explores the city, mostly after sunset. “Photography is a universal language”, she told the New York Times.

“It’s a very powerful, silent, wordless type of communication. An image can speak to different people”.

Her first show will held this May at the University of the Philippines.


See this RTHK feature on her work.