Since 2013, Basu has photographed child widows as part of her project ‘A Ritual of Exile’. According to UNICEF, more than 700 million women worldwide were married before the age of 18; of those, one in three were married before the age of 15. Girl children in countries like India and Nepal are seen as a burden, an additional mouth to feed, and are often married off. Child widows are the legacy of child marriage and both are rampant in the North Eastern district of Nepal.
‘A child widow’s job is to repent and atone. They live a life virtually devoid of pleasure and must wear no other colour but white. They must eschew with family. Temples are off limits and they are not allowed to remarry. They must not leave the house or look men in the eye, as it is said that a widows gaze will bring bad luck’, Basu says.
Poulomi Basu’s two photographs of child bride Anjali Kumari Khang show Anjali preparing for her marriage. ‘I am not happy. I do not want to get married. I hope my husband gets a job in a foreign city. Then I can come back to my mother’s home and stay for as long as I want to’. Anjali
Guillaume Bonn travelled with Christopher Hitchens in 2005 to Uganda to document child abduction by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). Over more than two decades, about 30,000 children were abducted from northern Uganda and provided the fuel for the LRA campaign of terror.
No one knows how many people died, but estimates run into the tens of thousands. The phenomenon of night commuters was one of the visible signs of the collective trauma people were subjected to. At the end of each day, the vulnerable — mostly children — would move from the countryside into slightly more secure towns or camps, gathering in schools, hospitals and NGO compounds to avoid abduction by the LRA. UNICEF estimated the members of child commuters in Gulu and Kit-gum districts at 25,000.No one knows how many people died, but estimates run into the tens of thousands.
These photographs were published in Vanity Fair, January 2006, accompanying the article ‘Childhood’s End’ by Christopher Hitchens.
Patrick Brown photograph of the flooded paddy field was taken on assignment for Human Rights Watch in Burma for an upcoming report on land grabbing by the government along the banks of the Salween River, near the city of Hpa-an. The report will also deal with environmental issues.
The photograph showing a large rainstorm crossing the Irrawaddy Delta region was taken in Burma in May 2008. This was four weeks after Cyclone Nargis swept through, causing the worst natural disaster in the recorded history of Burma. When the cyclone made landfall it sent a storm surge 40 kilometres up the densely populated Irrawaddy Delta, causing catastrophic destruction and at least 138,000 fatalities.
Robin Hammond’s portraits are from the campaign and project ‘Where Love Is Illegal’. Robin documented the stories of 65 lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people from 7 of the 75 countries where it is illegal to engage in consensual same-sex activity. Five of these 75 countries still have the death penalty. Many of these people were sharing their stories for the first time.
Robin’s portraits were taken using a large- format Polaroid camera to allow each person the right to destroy their portrait if they thought it put them at risk. Robinis donating his share of proceeds from sales to Witness Change, the foundation he created, which supports ‘Where Love Is Illegal’.
These two images are from Maciek’s ongoing project on the refugee crisis. According to UNHCR, about one million refugees and migrants have come to Europe by sea and 80% of those came via the Aegean Sea.
They don’t carry much with them: as much as you can put in a rucksack or bag. On the shores of the Greek island of Lesbos, nobody waits for these people — apart from a dozen volunteers and several photographers.
But perhaps they don’t think about the real journey, which is just beginning. For at least several weeks, these people will become a shapeless migration mass, a dangerous, foreign face weeks of waiting, arduous journeys on foot, by train, by bus. They will experience bleak conditions, uncertainty, humiliation and pain. But hope and faith for a new life in the promised land is stronger than the grief over what they left behind.