Winner, International Photography Award, 1st Place, Professional: Book, Documentary, 2016
The Afghan people are standing at a crucial crossroads in history. Can their fragile democratic institutions survive the drawdown of US military support? Will Afghan women and girls be stripped of their modest gains in freedom and opportunity as the West loses interest in their plight? While the media have largely moved on from these stories, Paula Bronstein remains passionately committed to bearing witness to the lives of the Afghan people. In this powerful photo essay, she goes beyond war coverage to reveal the full complexity of daily life in what may be the world's most reported on yet least known country.
Afghanistan: Between Hope and Fear presents a photographic portrait of this war-torn country's people across more than a decade. With empathy born of the challenges of being an American female photojournalist working in a conservative Islamic country, Bronstein gives voice to those Afghans, particularly women and children, rendered silent during the violent Taliban regime. She documents everything from the grave trials facing the country-human rights abuses against women, poverty and the aftermath of war, and heroin addiction, among them-to the stirrings of new hope, including elections, girls' education, and work and recreation. Fellow award-winning journalist Christina Lamb describes the gains that Afghan women have made since the overthrow of the Taliban, as well as the daunting obstacles they still face. An eloquent portrait of everyday life, Afghanistan: Between Hope and Fear is the most complete visual narrative history of the country currently in print.
Publisher: University of Texas Press
Number of pages: 228
Weight: 1758 g
Dimensions: 254 x 279 x 25 mm
"Bronstein's collection of photos is impressive . . . It is a feast of imagery that could not have been served at a better moment in history, the protracted conflict having dulled Afghanistan to American sensibilities . . . [She] remains committed to portraying those who might otherwise be forgotten in a seemingly endless conflict. In doing so, her images evoke emotions that are like Afghanistan itself, caught in that space between hope and fear." * CNN *
"Paula Bronstein's photographs convey the impression that she is fond of, and touched by, the people she decided to photograph. . . . This book is not only remarkable but truly impressive and extraordinary. Paula Bronstein makes one understand because she makes one feel. She created a deeply moving testimony of life." * F-Stop *
"The most powerful portrait of Afghanistan I've come across-these are images that you will never forget." * South China Morning Post *
"Far from wrapping herself in the veil of her own consciousness, [Bronstein] unflinchingly confronts the unattractive reality before her and challenges any viewer who might not wish to acknowledge such unpalatable facts." * Lens Culture *