I had the awesome opportunity to photograph at a local women’s prison here in Mazar. An NGO in the area is working to raise support to better the conditions of the facility so I got to use my camera to help with that process.
The assignment was to photograph the conditions of the facility.
I didn’t think that I would even have the opportunity to photograph the [treasures] that make their home inside the prison walls. The [women] shyed away from the camera, avoiding it at all costs as if it would steal their soul. Hiding in corners and covering their faces with their headscarves.
the children were scared of the camera too.
what are children doing living inside of a prison? when a woman in afghanistan goes to jail, her young children become prisoners with her. if she has older children they are sent to an orphanage.
there are no grassy patches to play in. no sandboxes, crayons or toys. there are [sparks of hope] in the eyes of these tiny people. they are diamonds in the rough.
my first twenty shots were of crying babies. who knows if they had ever seen a camera before. thank GOD for digital photography...as i began to show these two and three year old babies their portraits their crying subsided and i even got a few smiles out of them.
when their mothers saw their children's faces on the LCD they began to warm up
to me. Within a few minutes there was such a drastic change...they came alive. Before long their faces were unveiled and they were dragging me by the arm from one side of the courtyard to the other, fighting over who got to have their picture taken next. as soon as the shutter closed they would dive towards me to see their faces in the screen.
as i began to look into their eyes, my heart was shattered as i empathized with the intense pain, anger and angst written on the faces of these broken women. such stony exterior masking delicate hope. diamonds in the rough.