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Born in Kandahar, Afghanistan, in , photographer Farzana Wahidy was only a teenager when the Taliban took over the country in At age 13 she was beaten in the street for not wearing a burqa, she recalls, and she describes those years as a "very closed, very dark time. And yet, she says, "I felt lucky compared to other women at that time. But some, like Farzana, found ways to keep studying.
She would carry books under her burqa and attended what she calls an "underground school" with about other students in a residential area of Kabul. A friend encouraged her to apply for a photojournalism program, knowing that she had hopes of sharing her experiences with the world. An Afghan girl blows bubble gum while cooking for her family in Kabul, Wahidy became the first Afghan female photographer to work for the AFP and later AP, two leading wire agencies, and eventually received a scholarship to continue studies in a photojournalism program in Canada.
In , Wahidy returned home to Afghanistan. Wahidy focuses on women. When she wants to document their lives, "it's easier for a woman to get access," she says. Her photos of daily life range from men selling balloons on the streets to the secret lives of female prostitutes. And Wahidy was not the only one to recognize the need for this type of photography in Afghanistan. She is now part of the recently created Afghan Photography Network. It is a young website, still in development, but the Afghan Photography Network is already bringing increased visibility to the work of Afghan photographers.
Of the eight women in her original photojournalism program, Wahidy is the only one working as a full-time photographer. Some got married, and others stopped working for reasons unknown to Wahidy. Wahidy, meanwhile, plans to continue for a very long time. Accessibility links Skip to main content Keyboard shortcuts for audio player. To have carried a camera then would have been unthinkable.
But she went on to become a pioneering photographer and, after working and studying abroad, returned to Afghanistan to "show the bigger image, not just show we have problems. Facebook Twitter Flipboard Email. April 2, Hide caption Two Afghan women clad in burqas whisper in a shop in Kabul, Despite advances in women's rights since the fall of the Taliban, most Afghan women, especially outside the capital, still opt for the all-enveloping cloak. Hide caption An unidentified Afghan prostitute fixes her headscarf to cover her face in Kabul, Afghanistan is one of the world's most conservative countries, yet its sex trade appears to be thriving.