Caroline Irby November 28, 2008Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Tajikistan.
Handmaid to the Navruz bride, Pista Mazor Village, Tajikistan
Caroline Irby (b.1977, Hong Kong) had her most intense photographic lesson at 18 when she worked at Magnum in Paris three months immersed in great composition and surrounded by her heroes. After graduating in French and Philosophy from Edinburgh University in 2000, she entered the world of photography. She has been published in The Sunday Times Magazine, The Guardian Magazine, The Observer Magazine, Marie Claire, and The Independent among others. Caroline also works for aid agencies including Save the Children, UNICEF and Oxfam alongside commercial assignments. Her work has received awards from the Observer Hodge, the BBC and The Commonwealth Photographic Awards and has been exhibited in the UK and internationally. Caroline was a member of Network Photographers until 2005 and is now represented by Abby Johnston. She recently completed a project for the Guardian called : A Child From Everywhere.
About the Photograph:
“In spring 2007 I went to Pista Mazor, a small village in Tajikistan, close to the Afghan border, to photograph for a children’s book called ‘Our World of Water’. Six photographers were sent to different countries to follow the daily lives of children and explore what water means to them. I had five days in which to tell this story – long enough to be able to cover the story safely and have time left over to shoot outside the brief. I was commissioned to work digitally and when I’m making my own pictures alongside commissioned work, I use a different medium so I can separate the two in my mind and shoot as creatively as I like; this image was made on a Rolleiflex. My visit to Tajikistan coincided with the festival of Navruz, meaning ‘new day’: an ancient spring festival celebrated across Central Asia. The girl in the picture is getting ready to take part in the Navruz play.”
“I’d never worked in that part of the world before and found that people there have a curious way of looking at the camera, or outsiders. When I went through the contact sheets I saw this reticence in people’s expression again and again which gave the pictures a very different feel to any I’ve made in Africa, where I’m more used to photographing. I wondered whether this had to do with the landscape these people live in: remote, mountainous and landlocked with rugged winters to endure, there was a silence about the place that seemed to pervade the people too.”