Man on Boat 2018

‘Fish For Sex’ – a photographic documentary investigating the skewed gender dynamics between fishermen and female fish traders across southern Malawi.
Supported by the IWMF, this project was photographed at Lake Malawi, Lake Chilwa and Elephant March, Malawi, September 2018.

The Black Mambas 2017

From left to right: Black Mambas Nkateko, Zenzele & Thats, Balule Nature Reserve, South Africa, 2017

The Black Mambas are an almost all female anti-poaching unit which operates in Balule Nature Reserve in north-eastern South Africa. Trained in anti-poaching and survival skills, the Black Mambas are taught to identify and track humans and animals, how to blend in with their surroundings and how to avoid confrontations. Their training is crucial as the animals they track are wild, and poachers shoot to kill.

Awarded with the UN’s top environmental award, “Champions of the Earth”, the Black Mambas act as role models in their own communities (where many of the poachers live). As women and mothers, they command a kind of respect that the heavily armed, most male anti-poaching units, do not.

Miss July 2019

Miss July, Kersefontein Guest Farm, South Africa, 2019.

The Miss Calendar Girl Beauty Pageant was founded in 2015, by Chedino, a trans-woman whose gender affirming transition I have been documenting since 2012. Chedino wanted to create an event where trans-girls can feel more comfortable entering and participating. Similar to the balls featured in ‘Paris is Burning’, pageants like Miss Calendar Girl provide normally ‘fringe’ members of South African society with a safe environment, a support network, and above all, a sense of community.

Inspired by the movie ‘Priscilla – Queen of the desert’ I took some of the pageant participants for a photoshoot into a salt pan outside of Cape Town where we spent a day taking pictures. All outfits and make up were designed and applied by the calendar girls themselves, and would be worn during the Miss Calendar Girl Beauty Pageant a few days later.

Note: The text above was written by the Artist. No modification was made by COCA.

Julia Gunther


Julia Gunther is a German photo artist who specialises in documentary projects. Her work explores themes of representation, gender, visual identity and social activism, specifically, the role of women in society.

Her photography has been exhibited in New York, Los Angeles, London, Cape Town, South Korea, Sydney, Amsterdam and selected by exhibitions and festivals around the globe. Julia’s work was selected for the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize Exhibition 2016 and has won awards at The New York Photo Festival’s The Last Picture Show 2015 and the Moscow International Foto Awards 2015.

Julia’s work has been featured in international publications such as the New York Times Magazine, TIME, The Independent, Marie Claire, Dazed, WIRED and Al Jazeera. From January 2016 to December 2017 she was also a regular blogger for The Huffington Post.

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