New Internationalist

Farzana Wahidy

October 2007
Farzana Wahidy
Farzana Wahidy

When I was young I wanted to be an engineer, but the Taliban period was a bad time, especially for women, with restrictions in every part of our lives. After the Taliban, I felt that taste of freedom for the first time. I chose photojournalism because I thought it could be a career offering me more freedom and open the possibility of travelling alone as a woman.

When I started studying at Ainaphoto, I had little idea what photojournalism was. All I knew about photography was what you shot at family weddings. I learned that there are so many qualities in photojournalism that could help my future and my country’s future. My education at Ainaphoto exposed me to the technical challenges of using this modern digital equipment.

For me, photography is an international language for everyone. In Afghanistan the majority of the population is illiterate, so photography is a perfect medium for communication. They can read images easily and sometimes they can find more information in the photo than the photographer sees. But this depends on the photographer, the image and the audience.

I enjoy shooting stories especially about women’s issues and because I am a woman, I can gain easier access than men can. Doing stories about suicide bombings reminds me of the war; even though it can upset me, I still do them. I like photographing in the bazaar and in public because it is something that in the past was forbidden. Now I can do it easily but it is still a challenge, working as a woman photographer in our male-dominated industry.

Farzana Wahidy, Ainaphoto agency, Afghanistan. By arrangement with Drik Photo Library,

This column was published in the October 2007 issue of New Internationalist. To read more, buy this issue or subscribe.

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This article was originally published in issue 405

New Internationalist Magazine issue 405
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