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Farhad Berahman March 20, 2014

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Nepal.
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Wedding band rehearsing. Bhaktapur, Nepal 2006

Farhad Berahman (b. 1981, Iran) is a documentary photographer based in the Middle East and the UK specializing in social documentary, travel and editorial photography. He began his professional career with Associated Press in the UAE and Middle East in 2006. Farhad was nominated from the World Press Photo as the best young talented photographer in the MENA region in 2009 and his work has appeared in publications around the globe such as The New York Times, The Guardian, Figaro, The Washington Post and El Pais.

About the Photograph:

“It was the third month of my journey through Asia, when I had to go to Nepal to change my visa and return back to India. I was amazed by the beauty of Nepal- the views of  the Himalaya’s, the architecture and culture. The most interesting place, which made me stay longer, was the ancient city of Bhaktapur, known as the Living Heritage. It was a Friday afternoon when I was walking through this historical place and I heard a music playing from far away. I walked through the narrow streets to find the source. There was a band rehearsing for a wedding. They specialized in performing at weddings, festivals, and street processions. Their role has been vital from the very beginning of times, as it signified the groom traveling miles to bring the bride home with the sound of joy. The music lifted the spirits of all in the wedding parade that followed.”

Natalie Keyssar March 17, 2014

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in United States.
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Dancehall party, Brooklyn 2013

Natalie Keyssar (b. 1984, USA) received her BFA in Painting and Illustration from Pratt Institute in 2009, she began to pursue photojournalism, which fused her love for visual storytelling with her deep interest in social justice. She is currently a member of Reportage by Getty Images Emerging Talent, a regular contributor to The Wall Street Journal, and works for a variety of other publications and organizations. Much of her personal work has focused on the themes of class inequality, and the cultures on the fringes of society. She was a 2013 Global Post Fellow for the “Burma Telling Its Own Story” project in Myanmar. Her work has been recognized with awards from American Photography 29, the NPPA, and The International Color Awards.

About the Photograph

“This is a picture from an ongoing project about the the Caribbean dancehall scene in East Flatbush, Brooklyn, and the lives of the youth who are involved in it. The work explores a range of themes, from gender and sexuality and its expression in this form of dance, to the violence which seems to penetrate the lives of so many of these youth despite their best attempts to keep things positive and productive. Following these young dancers has lead me in several directions, many far outside the nightclubs where the project started, but I never cease to be amazed by the power and raw energy that they channel when they start moving together.”

“I shot this at a dancehall party around 3 a.m. on March 22nd, 2013, in East Flatbush, around the time the dance teams really get going and start competing with each other for the spotlight of the party videographers who post footage from the events on the internet. The energy of the crowd builds up and their focus comes together, first on one crew, then another. There’s an electricity that escalates as one group works to top the last, and their feet are moving in unison through steps that they work on every day, in their living rooms, and basements, and bedrooms. Dancehall music plays a complex role for youth growing up in what is often a very difficult environment. At times it seems to reinforce objectifying roles for women, and aggressive posturing for men, yet I’ve also come to see it as an important outlet, and a source of real empowerment, with roots in Caribbean Culture. In so many ways the system is failing these kids, and through this subculture they’re creating a space where they can strive for perfection and relieve some stress.”

Jana Asenbrennerova March 13, 2014

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Czech Republic.
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Father Julian and Father Ferdinand. Retired Priests, Czech Republic 2011

Jana Asenbrennerova (b.1981, Czech Republic) studied directing at the Film Academy in Písek and came to the USA in 2003 to continue her education. After graduating from San Francisco State University and completing internships at the San Francisco Chronicle and the Kathmandu Post in Nepal she started freelancing for a variety of publications including Lidé a Země and Reuters. Jana received awards from National Geographic, Czech Press Photo, China Press Photo, PDN, CPOY and most recently World Press Photo (an honorary mention in the Daily Life category for her story about the gay community in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

About the Photographs:

“These two images are from a portrait series about retired priests. They live in a 24 hour care retirement home dedicated entirely to members of the church. The priests continue to lead their spiritual lives, taking turns  attending daily mass and participating in prayers with each other. Despite the fact that the Czech Republic is one of the most atheist countries in the world, there are several homes exclusively for retired priests throughout the country. When I first visited the priests my initial idea was to do a reportage about them. I visited them regularly and after two months I wanted to do an individual portrait of each one of them. I thought of a concept and then told them what I had in mind. At that point I had made so many photos of them and they had gotten used to me. I wanted them all to dress the same in their cassock preferably which they used in the church.”

“The main challenge was their mobility. Just to sit straight and keep looking at the camera was not easy. For example to photograph Father Julian – who is no longer alive- was quite challenging. He was in a wheelchair and his movement was very limited. I dressed him and noticed it was tiring for him to even just change outfits. So by the time he was positioned for the portrait I knew he couldn’t take more then five minutes. So I stopped shooting and trusted I got the shot which needed to be consistent with the others. It was similar with Father Ferdinand. He is nearly one hundred years old. It was a great experience to work and get to know these men. They have a fantastic sense of humor and are great storytellers. I’m always impressed by their memory. Regardless of their age they are curious and actively keep on learning. It wasn’t a surprise to me when one day I visited Father Xaver who is in his ninties and he greeted me with Bonjour as he was learning French.”

Robert McPherson March 10, 2014

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Mongolia.
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Kazakhs building a Ger in Mongolia, 2012

Robert McPherson (b.1982, Norway) began freelancing for Norway’s Aftenposten national newspaper in 2011. He is a member of Metaphor Images, an international documentary photographer`s collective based in Australia. Robert studied for a Bachelor of Communications at Edith Cowan University in Perth, Western Australia. He graduated in 2006 with an honours degree focusing on documentary photography. During his studies he traveled to Kyrgyzstan and has since continued his long term documentary project on nomads in Central Asia. His work from the Kibera slum in Nairobi Kenya was part of an exhibition at Visa Pour l`Image in 2011. He has been nominated for the Picture of the Year Award in Norway for 2013 .

About the Photograph:

“During summertime nomads move camp more frequently in order to find pasture land for their animals. During wintertime they live in houses built of mud and wood. This image shows a moment during the set up of a new camp in summer. When I turned around I was struck by this Kazakh girl entering the unfinished Yurt (Ger) while her parents were taking a  break from construction. Kazakhs are descendants of Turkic and Mongol tribes and are pastoral nomads of the steppes of Kazakhstan and Mongolia. Most of the vast expanses of these countries are semi-arid land that is desolate and frozen in the winter and turns to lush, green meadow in mid-spring. The steppes are invaluable pastureland for the sheep, horses, cattle, and camels that are essential to the Kazakh people.
The ancestors of modern-day Kazakhs were nomadic or semi-nomadic, and many of their customs reflect that lifestyle. Nowadays, people live mostly in cities and villages, although some still lead an agricultural life. The nomadic culture is under threat from these changes in priorities.”

Eve Edelheit March 6, 2014

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in United States.
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Grand Prairie, Texas 2012

Eve Edelheit (b.1988, United States) is a photojournalist based in St. Petersburg, Florida who is currently working at the Tampa Bay Times. After graduating from the University of Missouri with a degree in Photojournalism she went to photojournalism internships at The Chautauquan Daily, The Peoria Journal Star, The Dallas Morning News and the Tampa Bay Times. She also studied at the Danish School of Journalism in Aarhus, Denmark. Her work has been recognized by the National Press Photographers Association and the Hearst Journalism Awards. She was accepted into the XXIV class of the Eddie Adams Workshop in 2011 and was recently awarded the Nikon Emerging Professional Scholarship Award at the 65th Missouri Photo Workshop.

About the Photograph

“This photo is from a larger project about Jonathan Cook who suffers from Ulcerative Colitis. In the photo his mother Janette reads the labels on different breakfast meats while grocery shopping with Jonathan shortly after he got out of the hospital in February 2012. Jonathan was weak after getting out of the hospital and didn’t feel up to walking around the store so he rode in a motorized cart. One thing colitis has in common with other chronic diseases in children, is how helpless it can make parents feel. Due to several of the medications he was on and his new serious condition, Jonathan’s diet became very limited. His new dietary restrictions became a constant struggle for the family as they began to realize how limited their food options were for not only Jonathan, but their entire family as their grocery bill began to exponentially increase.”

“This was the first project I had the opportunity to photograph for a longer period of time and learned what it truly meant to follow the journey of a story. The story I originally pitched to my editor never happened and I was reminded that we can’t try and predict or pre-visualize what we want to have happen in a story. You’ll get frustrated and miss what’s happening right in front of you. Due to various changes in his diet and new medications. Jonathan gained 35 pounds in a four month period after getting out of the hospital – some of which was to get him back to his normal body weight after not eating for two weeks.”

Mark Edward Harris March 3, 2014

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in North Korea.
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Traffic Officer, Pyongyang, North Korea 2008

Mark Edward Harris (b.1958, United States) began his professional photography career after receiving his Masters Degree in Pictorial/Documentary History from California State University, Los Angeles. His editorial work has appeared in publications ranging from Life, GEO, Stern and The Los Angeles Times Sunday Magazine, to The London Sunday Times Travel Magazine, Wallpaper, Conde Nast Traveler, and Playboy. He is the recipient of numerous awards including a CLIO, ACE, Aurora Gold, and Photographer of the Year at the Black & White Spider Awards. His books include Faces of the Twentieth Century: Master Photographers and Their Work, The Way of the Japanese Bath, Wanderlust, North Korea, South Korea, and Inside Iran. North Korea was named Photography Book of the Year at the 2013 International Photography Awards.

About the Photograph:

“In 2008 I was given the opportunity to document the New York Philharmonic’s historic concert in North Korea’s capital of Pyongyang. I had been to the reclusive country twice before but this was the first time I would be in the country with a large contingent of Americans, the largest in fact since the Korean War.  I had noticed the colorfully dressed traffic officers before but had not been able to do an up close and personal environmental portrait of them. Though my escorts were very friendly, my requests to stop and let me out to photograph the traffic officers had not been accepted. Finally during one of the orchestra’s rehearsals I was able to go out for a little stroll and came face to face with the woman in this photo. She didn’t seem too thrilled about being the subject of my impromptu photo session but she was busy directing traffic. I held my Nikon speedlight with a ¼ CTO on it high and off to my left to reduce the harsh shadows and took a few quick shots with my Nikon D3. I made it back into the auditorium just in time to here the last bars of Rhapsody in Blue. Now my traffic officer in blue is on the cover of North Korea which was named the Book of the Year at the 2013 International Photography Awards.”

Fatemeh Behboudi February 27, 2014

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Iran.
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Anniversary of Ayatollah Khomeini’s Death, Tehran 2011

Fatemeh  Behboudi (b.1985, Iran) studied photography and, after graduating in 2007 worked for several Iranian news services including the Iranian Quran News Agency (IQNA), student news agency Pana, Bornanews and Mehr (MNA) and the Fars News Agency. She has participated in severail exhibitions including the Angkor Photo Festival 2013, the Ashura Picture Exhibition 2012 and the Photo Festival Revolution and War 2012 Tehran. In the 2010 Doorbin.net symposium she won second prize in the documentary competition.

About the Photograph:

“June 4th is the death anniversary of Ayatollah Khomeini, a time when many Iranians travel to Tehran from all over the country to mourn in the mausoleum of Ayatollah Khomeini. The bodies of about 150 ‘unknown martyrs’ of Iran-Iraq war (1980-1988) were found three years ago which were buried on the same day, the 4th of June. These women who are mourning in the mausoleum of Ayatollah Khomeini for the soldiers bodies that are found after three decades. They are mainly their relatives, mothers, or sisters.”

“I believe in power of images over words; it means that images could be strong enough to take the words place, specifically for the purpose of showing the general atmosphere of a society. While taking this photo, I was thinking of the clergies position in governing and controlling life of many Iranian women. The dominance of clergies over women’s life could be traced in various aspects: in their personal life, work, studying, and religious believes. I have always been  interested in photographing religious women, as I believe that under their covers and within their multi-layered complex life there exists many stories waiting to be discovered.”

Lottie Hedley February 24, 2014

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in United States.
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Hilty family in Maine over the course of the four seasons in 2011/2012

Lottie Hedley (b. 1979, New Zealand) began her photographic journey in 2010 in Maine after seven years as a corporate lawyer working in New Zealand, the UK and Russia. Lottie attended the Eddie Adams Workshop in 2011, was selected for Center’s review Santa Fe in 2012 and has had her work included in the Catherine Edelman Gallery’s “Ctrl+P” exhibition series for emerging photographers. She is currently based in New Zealand where in addition to freelancing she edits a photography magazine called PRO Photographer.

About the Photograph:

“I come from farming stock in New Zealand and have a keen interest in how we look after the land and the next generation of farmers. While I was photographing another local organic potato farming family the farmer, Jim, had mentioned how he was inspired in some of his practices by the local Amish farmers. After an introduction and some letter writing and meeting with the Hilty family in person they decided I could come and stay with them and photograph their practices as it relates to sustainable living.

Life in the Hilty household works in circles. Food at meals is passed around the table in a clockwise circle; while questions regarding the morning’s bible reading come around the table in an anti-clockwise direction. The seasons impress their own circular influence on the family’s market gardening business and their method of farming cycles the soil through a process that ensures the soil is enriched rather than stripped. Perhaps most importantly, the family’s philosophy on farming for the future generations is according to an over-arching cycle. Their philosophy is to work with the land instead of against it. They don’t want their children to have to deal with problems they’ve created by farming the land to excess.

This picture is a reminder to me that there are little things that we can do to live more sustainably. Even in my own family we would always pick peaches and mum would preserve them. If this project lead to one person looking at their own lifestyle and seeing what they could plant in their own backyard, what they could preserve when produce is in abundance or just what they are doing in general to make things better for the next generation, whether that relates to food and the land or otherwise, the project will have been successful.”

Arief Priyono February 20, 2014

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Indonesia.
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Lirboyo Islamic boarding school. East Java, Indonesia 2012

Arief Priyono (b. 1982, Indonesia) studied photography at the Antara School of Journalism in Jakarta. His work has been published in The Independent, The Telegraph, Sydney Morning Herald, Der Spiegel, The Wall Street Journal and ABC News among others. In 2010 he was commissioned by Human Rights Watch International to document political prisoners in the Republic of the South Molucas (RMS). In 2013 he received a scholarship to attend Training of Trainers at Erasmus Huis, Dutch Cultural Centre in Jakarta. Arief  is currently working on an ongoing project about former migrant workers in Indonesia. His work is distributed by Getty Images and Zuma Press.

About the Photograph:

“This photograph is part of my project Indo Islam. Indonesia is the world’s most populous Islamic country where about 85 percent of the country’s almost 200 million people are Muslim. This religious school teaches students moderate Islam in an attempt to reduce radical Islam in the country. Since the Bali bombings and the September 11 tragedy, Indonesia as a Muslim country has been in the spotlight because of terrorism. Islamic boarding schools have been accused of being terrorist training centers. In fact, it is only a small part of Indonesia. Lirboyo Islamic boarding school, is one of the largest traditional Islamic schools in Indonesia. They teach a peaceful Islam, and are strongly opposed to terrorism. They have at least 10,000 students. Every year about 1,000 students are sent to various regions in Indonesia to conduct de-radicalization.”

William Eckersley February 17, 2014

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in China.
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Boy playing, Chengdu Airport, China 2011

William Eckersley (b.1980, England) is a London-based photographer who studied at The London College of Communication and St. Martins, and recently began an MA at Westminster. His projects include Left London (2006), a review of derelict sites around his home city; U.S. 80 (2010), which focused on the landscapes and people surrounding America’s first coast-to-coast highway and Orwell (2012), which traces some of the locations of the renowned author’s life. His work has been published in The Guardian, The Telegraph and Creative Review as well as being held in the Nike and Sir Elton John collections.

About the Photograph:

“This photo was taken while in China filming a documentary on AIDS. Attitudes have now changed but many sufferers, as well as doctors, recalled traumatic early experiences in trying to get official recognition and help from the state. I shot a personal essay as we traveled the country with these thoughts in mind. The photos found a parallel with how people and nature were often struggling against the voracious, state-sponsored growth of the built environment. This image is of a young boy playing in the constructed pastiche of a traditional, rural landscape – euphemistically labelled as Home. He saw nothing unusual in the scene, a place to enjoy and explore; but I wondered how his parents nearby felt. Were they from a small village in the Szechuan hills? Had it, like many others, been demolished for urban expansion? Did they recognize the artifice in the modern environment their son now thought of as home?

Toufic Beyhum February 13, 2014

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Germany.
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Berlin U-Bahn 2007

Toufic Beyhum (b. 1974, Beirut) moved to London at a young age. Toufic first showed an interest in photography at the age of 15, refining his skills at Art College over the next few years. At 21, he graduated and immediately embarked on a successful advertising career, plying his trade as an Art Director for multinational advertising agencies in New York, Dubai, London and Berlin. Amidst the flurry of advertising deadlines, Toufic still managed to indulge his passion for photography, at one point taking a year off to travel publishing a photographic book of Berlin’s U-Bahn in May 2007. He is based in London and is currently working on a documentary called After Tomorrow that was filmed in Petra, Jordan.

About the Photograph:

“This is a photograph from my published book, “Emotions in motion” that was published in Berlin. On my first day to work at the advertising agency BBDO I saw something that I have never seen before, especially at 8:30am on public transport. Two intoxicated women feeding each other ice cream and French kissing on the train. I thought to myself, welcome to Berlin and I also promised myself that from now on I would carry my camera with me everywhere. For two years I took photos on the Berlin Underground. It became an addiction, I took photos on the way to work and back, sometimes riding it till it closed. I also spent Christmas, New Years and every chance I got to  capture the fascinating characters of Berlin. I have had the pleasure of riding the New York Subway, the London Underground, the Paris and Tokyo Metro and when it comes to craziness, the Berlin Ubahn beats all of them hands down. This photo was during the World Cup when everybody was advertising. Usually this type of advertising doesn’t always work because either the person isn’t aligned or the body build is wrong but when I spotted this guy sitting there he was spot on.”

Noriko Hayashi February 10, 2014

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Kyrgyzstan.
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Bride kidnapping in Kyrgyzstan. 2013

Noriko Hayashi (b.1983, Japan) began taking pictures for a small local newspaper in Gambia, West Africa, when she was still a university student in International Relations. Working in a small place like Gambia, which is rarely the focus of international news but is full of interesting stories, taught Noriko the value of covering the overlooked realities of every strand of society. She won the first prize in 2012 DAYS International Photojournalism Awards and was awarded three Kiyosato’s Young Portfolio Acquisitions Awards (2010, 2011, 2012). Noriko was also finalist for the Alexia foundation professional grant. In 2013, she won The Visa D’or feature awards at Visa Pour l’Image festival in France. Her work has been published in the International Herald Tribune, National Geographic Japan, Newsweek, Der Spiegel and Le Monde among others. Noriko is currently based in Tokyo.

About the Photograph:

I spent five months visiting villages throughout Kyrgyzstan and sometimes I was able to witness the practice. According to local NGO’s, as many as 40% of ethnic Kyrgyz women are married by the process of ala kachuu (‘grab and run’) or bride kidnapping. Though illegal since 1994, the authorities largely turn a blind eye to the practice. Most commonly, the putative groom will gather a group of young men and charter a car to go and look for the woman he wants to marry. Unsuspecting women are then often dragged off the street and bundled into the car which takes them straight to the man’s house where frequently the family will have already started to make preparations for the wedding.”

“Once girls are taken inside the kidnapper’s home, female elders play a pivotal role in persuading her to accept the marriage. They try to cover the girl’s head with a white scarf, symbolizing that she is ready to marry her kidnapper. After several hours of struggle, around 84% of kidnapped women end up agreeing to the marriage. Their parents often also pressure the girls, as once she has entered her kidnappers home she is considered no longer pure, making it shameful for her to return home. To avoid scandal and disgrace they tend to remain with their kidnappers. 

Prior to the Soviet period when the people were living a nomadic life, the majority of the marriages were arranged by parents. Although non-consensual bride-kidnapping occurred rarely, it was not common and was not socially accepted. Marriages resulting from bride kidnapping are also thought to result in significantly higher rates of domestic abuse and divorce and numerous cases of suicide amongst women who were kidnapped have been recorded.”

Javad Parsa February 6, 2014

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Iran, Turkey.
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Iranian refugees in Turkey, Ankara 2010

Javad Parsa (b. 1985, Iran) grew up in Iran, but had to flee in 2009 due to an arrest-order by the Iranian government after his images of the Iranian uprising that year were published abroad. He has since lived in Turkey and in 2010 has been living in Oslo and currently freelances for VG, one of Norway’s largest newspapers. In 2013 he was selected as a participant of the Joop Swart Masterclass organized by World Press Photo. His work has been published in numerous national and international publications including TIME magazine, The Washington Post, Newsweek, Le Figaro, Paris Match, The Guardian, 6Mois and Amnesty International.

About the Photograph:

“Every year large numbers of Iranians travel to Turkey. Of this group crossing the border there are people, who have  political, social, and religious views in conflict with Iran’s government policy. Many feel it necessary to apply to the UN for refugee status. Danika is nine years old and has been living in Turkey for the past two years. Davood and his wife and their two daughters have been living in Turkey as refugees for the last two years. Davood’s wife is from Philippines. They met in Japan and married in the Philippines. Davood was introduced to Christianity through his wife and converted from Islam to Christianity in Iran. His brother informed the authorities that Davood had changed his faith. He had to flee Iran for fear of being prosecuted. In this photo, Davood is getting ready for church where Iranian Christians get together once a week.”

Magda Rakita February 3, 2014

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Liberia.
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Boxing club in Monrovia 2013

Magda Rakita (b. 1976, Poland) became interested in photography and storytelling as a way of sharing her experiences as passionate traveler. She now works on documentary projects focusing on issues of health, social problems and development. Magda mostly works with NGOs and aid agencies, including: Save the Children UK, Seeds of Peace UK, TASO Uganda, Survival International, More Than Me, and THINK Liberia. In 2013 she graduated from the MA in Documentary Photography and Photojournalism at London College of Communication. Her MA project “God Made Woman Than He Jerked” was highly commended in the 2013 Ian Parry Scholarship Award. She is based in London.

About the Photograph:

“God made woman then he jerked”, reads a mural on the streets of Monrovia, the capital city of Liberia, a country mostly remembered for its fourteen-year civil war in which an estimated 250,000 people lost their lives. As Liberia celebrated its 10th anniversary of peace in summer 2013, and with a woman occupying its highest political office, I was keen to explore the lived experience of a post-war generation of girls growing up among a war-scarred population. I hoped this might help shed light on the difficulties and challenges, but also on the resilience and determination, evident in the lives of these young girls as they fight to improve their prospects for the future.”

“Despite the presence of some high profile female figures in Liberia’s politics, the everyday realities and possibilities are very different for the majority of women. Relatively few girls are able to attend school as they find it difficult to reconcile their obligations towards their families and the demands of schooling. Many struggle to afford the obligatory school uniforms and registration fees despite education being (at least in theory) free. Sexual and gender based violence remain major issues, including in Liberia’s educational system, and it is not uncommon for students to be subject to sexual harassment when it comes to exchanging favors for grades. To me this image represents the struggle of young girls and women in a male dominated society and how isolating it can be for them to stand up for their rights. Hawa was the only girl attending training sessions in a boxing club in central Monrovia during the holiday season in 2013.”

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