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Afghanistan has endured armed conflict to one degree or another since 1979 when the Soviet Union invaded. In the fall of 2001, the award-winning American photojournalist Paula Bronstein traveled to Afghanistan on assignment for Getty Images to document the U.S-led Occupation Enduring Freedom in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. Captivated by the people of Afghanistan and the rugged beauty of their country’s landscape, Paula returned to the country repeatedly over 15 years to document the lives of the Afghan people against the backdrop of a brutal and protracted war. Paula worked during periods of relative peace that saw the birth of a democratic government along with more opportunity for women and education for girls. She chose to spend most of her time documenting the Afghan people rather than on embeds with international troops, resulting in a body of work that goes beyond war coverage to reveal the full complexity of daily life in what may be the most reported on, yet least understood country in the world. Paula gives voice to those Afghans, particularly women and children, rendered silent during the violent Taliban regime.
“I have made some of the most extraordinary photos of my career in Afghanistan, with face after face offering a complex and intriguing gaze and revealing the constant tension between optimism and reality that shapes the lives of so many here. I keep going back, motivated and inspired by those faces, pushing against the difficulties, hoping to find fewer doors slamming shut and more people seeing reasons to smile.”
Paula Bronstein is one of the world’s leading female photojournalists.
Her award winning work reflects the eye of a dedicated humanitarian and conflict photographer. She is the author of the internationally acclaimed book “Afghanistan: Between Hope and Fear “. For over 15 years Paula worked as staff photographer for a variety of American newspapers. In the late 90’s she moved overseas covering the Asian region working with Getty Images News, working as staff from 2002-2013. Paula’s images have been published in almost every globally recognized publication and exhibited in numerous countries.
Over the years Paula's extensive work in various conflict zones has taught her to be a dedicated humanitarian photographer, provoking change and raising awareness, now she is working on a Getty grant about this topic.. the long term effects of war. Paula quote " that if war is not happening in your country quite often it is easier to turn away, my mission is to bring attention back to victims of war who have little voice – getting people to relate. "
Paula will also be running a workshop in Sydney alongside David Dare-Parker as part of Head On Photo Festival 2018