In 2022, photographers for Rest of World traveled far and wide to connect the dots between technology and how it impacts our lives: from the apps we download to how we shop for new clothing to open-source intelligence in Ukraine to the crypto collapse.
Our photographers created images that reflect this new reality, and the people living it. They went snorkeling on remote islands in French Polynesia, flew drones over nickel mines in Indonesia, and met with clandestine crypto miners in Lebanon. They made hundreds of photos for the stories we published this year.
Here are a few of our favorites.
The unlikely quest to build electric vehicles in Bolivia
In La Paz, Marcelo Perez photographed Quantum Motors, a Bolivian company attempting to revolutionize the local car economy, one charge at a time. Championed as a symbol of Bolivia’s lithium-powered future, Quantum’s tiny electric cars cost around $6,000 apiece and can fit one person comfortably.
How islanders in French Polynesia built their own online shopping ecosystem
On the remote islands of French Polynesia, Suliane Favennec photographed the local startups filling e-commerce gaps by planes and boats. Favennec even went underwater to photograph for this story.
InDriver’s unique haggling feature is helping it expand outside Siberia
In the midst of Siberian winter, photographer Yuri Kozyrev ventured out onto the ice pack of Yakutsk, Russia to photograph the ride-hailing app inDriver. Like Uber, the platform connects riders with drivers, but, uniquely, also lets them haggle over the price.
Venezuela’s gamers see esports as a way to escape the country’s crisis
On one of the top floors of a half-abandoned shopping mall in Caracas, photographer Lexi Para met with a team of professional online video game players, known as the Gorgeous Gamers. In a country facing widespread economic crisis, the players are desperately trying to make it on the international stage.
This Pakistani city has become a hub for Alibaba’s global expansion
Photographer Saiyna Bashir traveled to the Pakistani city of Sialkot, whose hub of factories and entrepreneurs is core to Alibaba’s global expansion. The Chinese e-commerce giant is expanding in Pakistan, and almost 90% of its sellers are located in Sialkot.
Inside a boot camp for Chinese TikTok sellers bringing live e-commerce to the U.S.
In Guangzhou, China, photographer and writer Yvaine Ye sat through a workshop for women on how to sell products online. In the workshop, participants learned and practiced how to sell Chinese products to English-speaking consumers on TikTok.
Ukraine’s tech industry adapts to a new normal
Six months into Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, photographer Brendan Hoffman met with tech companies in Kiev as they tried to navigate the war. While some companies relocated abroad, others stayed and developed techniques to keep working, protect staff, and even help the war effort.
Kashmir’s influencers seek internet fame but can’t get online
In India-administered Kashmir, photographer Showkat Nanda met with a handful of influencers trying to build and connect with their online audiences, despite the frequent internet blackouts. As influencers have become ubiquitous in most parts of the world, Kashmiri creators face unique hurdles that make their jobs especially challenging.
Watchdog investigates Sri Lanka’s ongoing political and economic crisis
In Colombo, photographer Tashiya de Mel shadowed the Sri Lankan open-source research team known as Watchdog, as they fact-checked the country’s ongoing crisis. The group faced threats from authorities, built software, and debunked government propaganda amid the country’s economic collapse.
China’s electric vehicle boom is ravaging Indonesia’s environment
Traveling to the Indonesian islands of Sulawesi and Halmahera, photographer Muhammad Fadli captured the damning impact of nickel extraction up close. Indonesia’s mining and refining of nickel for Chinese electric vehicles is polluting the environment, with disastrous impacts on local communities.
Inside the daily grind of one of India’s biggest influencer families
In Delhi, photographer Saumya Khandelwal spent time with the Singh family as they vlogged their way through viral fame. With a combined following of over 18 million, the Singhs are one of India’s most-followed influencer families.
How a YouTube channel is transforming a remote village in Bangladesh
Photographer Ziaul Haque Oisharjh traveled to the remote village of Shimulia in Bangladesh to meet its viral YouTube stars. The village, which rose to fame cooking massive feasts, has no stable internet connection, so the show’s producers travel to the capital to upload content.
The off-screen workers who keep the adult webcam industry running
In Medellín, photographer Nadège Mazars met with the men and women keeping Colombia’s camming industry online. An entire network of support staff operates behind the scenes to monitor, advise, promote, and coach on-screen models in the multimillion-dollar adult cam industry.
Lebanon’s neglected dams are powering a secret community of crypto miners
In Lebanon’s mountainous Chouf region, photographer Jacob Russell gained rare access to a community of crypto miners making razor-thin profits off hydroelectric power. The mining puts them into direct competition with local residents over one of the country’s most prized resources: electricity.
Inside the world’s biggest tech bazaars
Over six months, photographers and writers visited eight tech markets around the world. The resulting photo experience is packed with 97 images from the rainy, 2-kilometer-long SP Road in Bengaluru to the jumble of shopping plazas and bungalows in Lagos’ Computer Village.