Monika Bulaj’s stunning, painting-like photographs blur religious and cultural divisions, exploding stereotypes. She is a TED Fellow.

Why you should listen

Monika Bulaj is a photographer and writer who explores -- in Asia, Africa, Latin America and Eastern Europe -- the dim areas of monotheism, where the sacred can transcend borders: Bonfires, dances, cults of the dead, possession rites. She describes outskirts and deserts, frontiers and megalopolis. And the world of the last ones: nomads, farmers, immigrants, outcasts, untouchables and impure.

Her photos and reportaging have been published by GEO, National Geographic (Italy), La Repubblica, periodicals by Gruppo Espresso and Rcs, Courrier International, Gazeta Wyborcza (Poland), Internazionale, Freundin, Teatr (Poland) and other international magazines.
She has displayed more than 50 personal exibitions in Italy, Germany, Ungheria, Bulgaria, Egypt.

Her books include Libya felix, a travel into Sufism and the world of the Tuaregh; Figli di Noè, on minorities and faiths in Azerbaijian; Rebecca e la pioggia, on the nomadic tribe of the Dinka of South Sudan; Gerusalemme perduta with Paolo Rumiz, the special correspondent of La Repubblica, on the pellegrinage in the research of the Eastern Christians; Genti di Dio, viaggio nell'Altra Europa, a synthesis of 20 years of research in East Europe and Israel, and her latest book, Bozy ludzie.

She has screenwritten documentaries, among which is the movie Romani Rat (2002) by M. Orlandi, on the Holocaust of the Roms, with the contribution of the Shoah Visual History Foundation. She's the director, photography director, and screenwriter of the documentary Figli di Noè, about the villages of Caucasus on the border between Dagestan and Azerbaigian.

Bulaj is a TED Fellow. Read TED's Q&A with Monika Bulaj >>

Monika Bulaj’s TED talks

Quotes from Monika Bulaj

I have been walking and traveling, by horses, by yak, by truck, by hitchhiking, from Iran’s border to the bottom, to the edge of the Wakhan Corridor. And in this way I could find ‘noor,’ the hidden light of Afghanistan.
Monika Bulaj
TEDGlobal 2011 • 377K views Dec 2011
Courageous, Inspiring
I was walking through the [Polish] forests of my grandmother’s tales, a land where every field hides a grave, where millions of people have been deported or killed in the 20th century.
Monika Bulaj
TEDGlobal 2011 • 377K views Dec 2011
Courageous, Inspiring
My aim is to give a voice to the silent people, to show the hidden lights behind the curtain of the great game, the small worlds ignored by the media and the prophets of a global conflict.
Monika Bulaj
TEDGlobal 2011 • 377K views Dec 2011
Courageous, Inspiring