Andrew McConnell was a runner-up for Aperture’s 2011 Portfolio Prize. His photographic series, The Last Colony, is an exploration of the Sahrawi, a group of indigenous people from Western Sahara. In contrast with typical war photographs, McConnell depicts their banal daily life, yet in a way that demonstrates their heroic ability to continue normal lives despite the impending threats they face.

At a glance, the Sahrawi woman walking along the shoreline appears to be an apparition arising from the misty, white sea-foam—the reminiscence of what trauma has left behind. She glides along the sand, cloaked in the cover of darkness, then stops and stands firm. Her whiteness radiates, as if the full moon itself fell from the sky, appearing, to some lucky onlooker, like a vision of courage. She is whole and she is hope.

Andrew McConnell is an Irish photographer who began his career as a press photographer in his home country. He has now branched out into exploring more in-depth documentary work. His work has appeared in such publications as National Geographic, the New York Times, and Vanity Fair.