Grace Gelder is building a portfolio with some impressive images. She graduated with an MA from Bolton University in International Photojournalism , Documentary & Travel Photography. I am chuffed to promote her work because Bolton is one of many mid-sized cities of England’s Northwest that has been the brunt of dismissive attitudes during my childhood and adolescence.
The University of Bolton is helping reshape those ill-informed attitudes and building a reputation for its photojournalism department. This is helped by its partnership with the Dalian College of Image Art, China. Which helps to explain how Gelder came to work on her far-flung series Professional Mongolian Women. Mongolia is just next door, right?
As the Metro puts it, Gelder “counteracts misconceptions of Mongolia as an under-developed country. Her series of striking colour portraits, each depicting one woman in her professional context, follows up a UN report last year that placed Mongolia first in a league table for women’s participation in the workforce.”
I think particularly with her portrait of Munkhbayar, Director of the women’s prison just outside Ulaanbataar, Gelder succeeds in quashing stereotypes that exist regarding Non-western nations, Mongolia itself, and women in those societies. I am just glad Gelder had a prison warden as one of her subjects; as to provide me an excuse to promote her well-informed work. I recommend reading Gelder’s own description of gender relations and equalities in Mongolia.