Mayya Kelova is a documentary and conceptual photographer, born in Mary, Turkmenistan. She uses photography and film to study issues of discrimination and gender and explore notions of identity and trauma. 

Mayya has collaborated as a writer and a photographer with the United Nations, non-profit organizations, and media outlets, such as Novaya Gazeta. 

She studies at the School of Modern Photography “Docdocdoc” and in the past took part in various international photography workshops, masterclasses, and festivals.

Since 2021, Mayya is a member of Women Photograph. 

About. Mayya Kelova photographer


2019-2021 — School of Modern Photography “Docdocdoc, ” Saint Petersburg, Russia

2016-2017 — Central European University, Department of Legal Studies, MA Human Rights, Budapest, Hungary 

2008-2013 — American University in Bulgaria, BA Journalism


2021 — Nikon-NOOR Academy with Sanne De Wilde, Pep Bonet, and Jon Lowenstein (online)

2019 — “No Man’s Land” VII agency’s workshop with Sara Terry, Linda Bournane, and Nichole Sobecki, Sarajevo, Bosnia Herzegovina

2016 — Nikon-NOOR Academy with Benedicte Kurzen, Sebastian Liste, and Yuri Kozyrev, Almaty, Kazakhstan

Awards & mentions

2021 — Selected for Nikon-NOOR Academy 2021

2019 — VII Scholarship to attend a workshop

2016 — NOOR-Nikon Scholarship recipient  

Artist talks, lectures & other initiatives:

Mar. 2021 — Guest Speaker on Women in Photography and Other Creative Industries at the open dialogue “Women in Various Fields, “ organized by the EU Delegation to Turkmenistan

Dec. 2020 — Storytelling through documentary photography, an online seminar for photographers from Turkmenistan

Nov. 2020 — Artist talk for journalism students, University of Central Asia

Nov. 2019 — Speaker at the panel, “Creating Multimedia Content for Positive Social Change, ” World Learning Alumni TIES, Almaty, Kazakhstan

Exhibitions & screenings:

Film “ANYAK”

  • Moving Worlds, United Kingdom, multiple cities and festivals, June 17 — 23, 2019 
  • Researcher’s Night, Central European University Budapest, Hungary, September 28, 2018
  • Festival of Migrant Film, Slovenia, multiple cities, June 18 — 21, 2018 
  • Art IN Academia, Central European University Budapest, Hungary, February 5, 2018

“Love. Captured, ” one-day photography exhibition, hART foundation, British International Academy, Budapest, Hungary, March 2018 

“Hope for Cherry Blossom” solo photography exhibition, American University in Bulgaria, Blagoevgrad, Bulgaria, May 1 — May 15, 2013