Every Picture Tells A Story
by Brian Goslow
It is a stunning collection: a 25-year-old woman giving birth to twins at a Faizabad hospital; veiled women worshiping at a shrine to Shahzada Qasim, a descendent of the prophet Muhammad, in Herat; a health and hygiene class being taught by a traveling midwife in an isolated village in Badakhshan Province.
Afghan policewomen firing AMD-65 rifles at a shooting range outside Kabul and a 15-year-old girl from Mazar-e Sharif who responded to having been accused of stealing by dousing herself in petrol and lighting herself on fire, covering 95 percent of her body in burns; she would die three days later.
They’re contrasted by portraits of two young girls dressing for a relative’s wedding; women who are studying to become teachers gathering for an Afghan feast in the Women’s Garden outside of Bamian; and female graduates of the Class of 2010 at Kabul University, who show that despite the hardships they have and continue to face, they are, in many ways, just like us.
These photographs of Afghan women and girls are only a fraction of Pulitzer-Prize-winning photojournalist Lynsey Addario’s “Veiled Rebellions” series that is on view at Milton Academy’s Nesto Gallery through December 17. Each promises to steal a little piece of your heart.
“Because the lives of Afghan women are very private and difficult to document because of cultural and societal taboos, I think the international community doesn’t have a good sense of how women live there, what they want, where their struggles lie,” Addario wrote, responding to a series of email questions prior to the show’s opening. “Afghanistan is a deeply conservative country, and the people are very traditional; they don’t necessarily want the same things the international community wants for women around the world.”