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Dana Romanoff January 5, 2009

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Ghana, Ohio University.
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Emilia, Ewe Region, Ghana

Dana Romanoff is an award-winning photographer freelancing outside of Denver, Colorado. She recently completed a project for National Geographic Magazine entitled: No Man’s Land about the changing roles of women in left behind in Mexico due to immigration. Before working freelance, Dana worked as a staff photographer at newspapers including The Charlotte Observer, The Free Lance-Star and The Oregonian. As a journalist, Dana combines her passion for cultural studies, social issues and photography. She believes that photographs have the power to break down barriers and build bridges whether it be across oceans or between backyards. Raised in New York, Dana received her BA in American Cultural Studies at the University of Rochester and MA in Photojournalism from Ohio University. Dana has worked and lived around the globe as a photographer and outdoor and cultural guide.

About the Photograph:

“This photograph was made while working on a project about women in a controversial practice of African Traditional Religion in the Ewe region of Ghana, West Africa. There, women and girls are sent to shrines to atone for the crimes of their ancestors. Christian NGOs say the females are slaves to the shrines and have called world-wide attention in attempt for funding to “liberate and rehabilitate” the women and girls. The practitioners say the females are the queens of their towns and that Christians are trying to eradicate traditional religion. I spent six months studying and photographing the people of the town and their religious practice. I saw no human rights abused and feel the controversy truly is an attempt to exploit a traditional practice and people to spread Christianity. This particular photo is of Emilia whose father’s family helped establish some of the shrines which serve as a moral and educational institution in the town helps to prevent premarital sex and crime. Emilia, 15, is heartbroken because her father prohibited her to see her boyfriend. She sits along the main road in town clutching a fake flower.”

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