A Badjao man is photographed underwater in Mabul, a small island off the coast of Malaysia. The Badjao are a stateless people with no nationality in the traditional sense, residing instead in boats and living off the sea.
Photographer Guillem Valle took underwater portraits of them as part of a larger project about stateless people.
"I wanted to show who they are," Valle said. "I didn't want to create some sort of anthropology catalog. I wanted to go beyond who's who. These underwater portraits were perfect for that."
The soft light and the way the Badjao pose in the water reflect the "imaginary stateless nation" Valle wanted to convey, causing the viewer to examine the relationship between place and identity.
Around the third day of shooting, Valle began to gain the trust of the Badjao and they, in turn, began to understand the type of image Valle wanted. "They're posing in all of the pictures," Valle said. "I told them, 'I want to show what you normally do.' "
Valle said that in recent years, increasing amounts of Badjao are transitioning to a life on land. Their background as a stateless people, however, awards them no recognition by the Malaysian government or access to things such as health care or education.