WHEN photographer Shy Burhan called out for participants for her latest project - celebrating women in the workplace - she had an enthusiastic response.

Women in Uniform, which had its debut at Haworth Art Gallery in Accrington earlier this year, featured Shy’s images of female workers in a range of professions, including train driver, self defence coach and civil engineer.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Civil Engineer Alisa Ahmed Civil Engineer Alisa Ahmed (Image: Shy Burhan)

Participants include Dr Sofia Buncy, co-founder and national co-ordinator of the Muslim Women in Prisons Rehabiliation Programme, and Fozia Shaheen, Toller ward councillor and mental health advocate.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Humma Nizami, Director of the Race Equality CouncilHumma Nizami, Director of the Race Equality Council (Image: Shy Burhan)

Now Shy’s Arts Council and National Lottery-funded project is ‘coming home’, with an exhibition at Cartwright Hall - and she is appealing for more women to take part.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Pictured with her paintbrushes, Relational Artist Aamta TulPictured with her paintbrushes, Relational Artist Aamta Tul (Image: Shy Burhan)

Says the Shipley based photographer: “Women in Uniform celebrates the achievements of professional women of colour in industries where we are traditionally under-represented.

“In an effort to dismantle preconceived stereotypes and systemic, institutionalised racism and misogyny, I want to continue to build a strong subject dialogue and discuss the complex interplay between women of colour and cultural sensitivities by inviting them to discuss the sub-text and role of their uniform and what/how it represents them individually. “The uniform doesn’t have to be a set uniform as such - it can be ‘civilian’ clothes.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Photographer Shy Burhan is appealing for more women to take part in her project Photographer Shy Burhan is appealing for more women to take part in her project (Image: Shy Burhan)

“The current 66 portraits series pays tribute to UK women of colour who work in industries where they are under-represented; it features MBE and OBE recipients alongside women who occupy roles such as actresses, electricians, physicians, anglers and engineers, to name a few.

“There are also inspiring Bradford trailblazers such as Tahira Bibi, the UK’s first female British-Pakistani train driver.

“Women in Uniform will be at Cartwright Hall in 2024, for a limited time, and I’m calling out for more participants.”

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Suffia Hussain, Karate and Self Defence Coach Suffia Hussain, Karate and Self Defence Coach (Image: Shy Burhan)

Adds Shy: “Thirty years ago, I used to walk through the grounds of Lister Park to and from school and visit the Cartwright Hall gallery during free periods. I never imagined I would be invited, years later, to have my own work exhibited here. I am truly honoured to do so, and to be working with such a dynamic, all-female gallery team who fully support my creative vision.

“There were very few artists from global majority communities whose work was featured there back then, and hardly any female photographers of South-Asian heritage who I could aspire to be like. I had to forge my own path, so I fully understand the importance of representation.

“This is a rare opportunity for women to have their portrait featured in this compelling exhibition. I’d love to hear from anyone who missed out last time. Representation for such pioneering women is a rarity.”

Shy plans to interview, via Zoom, each new participant for an hour then photograph them in her Shipley studio.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Police officer Zainab Bibi Police officer Zainab Bibi (Image: Shy Burhan)

The interview and photography process will take place throughout November and December. Shy says each new participant will receive a gift portrait.

She adds: “As a female photographer of South Asian heritage, I’m somewhat of a rarity. Moreover women from global majority communities who occupy senior roles in their respective industries are still lower in number than their white, male counterparts. And yet I know we exist, because I exist.

“To celebrate these hidden figures, I’m looking for women from global majority groups - including trans women of colour - to have their portraits shot for this extended exhibition of Women in Uniform, in a conceptual way that shares their individual truths, centring around what their ‘uniform’ means to them.

“A recorded Zoom conversation will take place first to discuss this and then I will arrange to take their portraits in my Shipley based studio.

* The Women in Uniform exhibition will be launched at Cartwright Hall, in Lister Park, Manningham, on Saturday, January 20, 2024.

Anyone who would like to take part in the project, or knows someone who may be a suitable candidate, is asked to contact Shy Burhan by emailing info@shybphotography.co.uk

* As well as her Women in Uniform project, Shy has been showcasing the talents of young people in Bradford this year.

In August Girlington Centre launched a permanent exhibition of photography by young people Shy has been working with. Shy held workshops with the young photographers, teaching them about lighting, composition and story-telling techniques to relay themes such as: fun, strength, adventure, friendship, adventure, peace, hope, relaxation and family. All the work in the exhibition, called Blooming Likeness, was captured by the young people on their smartphones.

“Blooming is a typical expression of Yorkshire exaggeration, but also means to blossom. Likeness means to be alike,” said Shy. “And representation matters. It levels the playing field. I taught young people, from under-served community groups, to proudly take artistic photos in the streets in which they live - about people and issues they know, who will then be proud of them for relaying their hidden stories that reflect the diversity of their own neighbourhoods.”

For more about Shy’s photography projects go to her website, shybphotography.com