Nothing is more infuriating than a small, unhelpful or non-existent caption to a piece of artwork or photograph. With that in mind, one of the most appealing features of renowned photojournalist Lynsey Addario is her consistent desire to tell the true story behind each and every scene she captures. So her magnificent, powerful collection of images – predominantly focusing on the role of women in war torn or third world countries – Lynsey is actually teaching you about what is going on.
For instance, of a rare photograph taken inside an Afghan wedding, Lynsey writes: “It’s very delicate to photograph an Afghan wedding. The women are unveiled and often wear revealing dresses and heavy makeup. They are reluctant to share these images with the outside world. At this Kabul wedding the bride is Fershta, 18. She wears a green dress for the ceremony—a color associated with prosperity and paradise in Islamic tradition. The groom is Amin Shaheen, son of film director Salim Shaheen. The sober expression on his wife’s face reflects the fact that marriage is an enormous milestone in an Afghan woman’s life, not just a celebratory event.”
The majority of Addario’s photographs feature women which, although she is by no means the only female photojournalist out there, is a skill of hers that is nearly unparalleled. Venturing into places and homes that most would steer well clear from is only part of the skill involved. It is her ability to capture this huge range of women at such tender, crippling moments – be it fighting for their country in Afghanistan, to fighting personal battles against torturous governments, husbands and traditions – that Lynsey is so adept at. This could be partly because of her desire to raise each of these women up and display them to us on a kind of pedestal – Every woman photographed consistently takes pride of place in the composition, dragging your eyes towards her and making you stay there while you turn over in your head exactly what it is you’re looking at.
These are not photos to be scrolled through. Read the captions, spend time with each one, and then treat yourself to reading a little about Lynsey’s turbulent career so far – she is absolutely fascinating.