Photos from The New York Times and taken by the incredible photojournalist Stephanie Sinclair.
On browsing through the National Geographic website I came across a photojournalist called Stephanie Sinclair who documents cultural groups and fragile human rights issues around the world. It goes almost without saying that Sinclair's different photo series are astounding and often terrifying. One of her series focused on women who set themselves on fire in an attempt to part from a terrifying relationship involving domestic violence. Another series that Sinclair has photographed and written about was on the practice of child brides in countries such as Afghanistan and feature above this post are a few famous photos of hers which both the National Geographic and the New York Times have published. The stories of these brides would make most readers' stomachs twist up inside and some would label this cultural practice as a kind of legalised child pedophilia. While it is important to appreciate cultural differences, this is something I cannot get my head around and I don't think I ever will.
A wonderful academic called Trinh T Minh Ha stated that, "Barbarism is, in the first place, the man who believes in barbarism." But surely there must be a point where a practice is barbaric no matter what way you look at it? As is often the conclusion with these cultural practices it is balancing act between cultural relativism and seeing other people groups as the 'other'- a group of people who we study on the other side of the hill.
The topic of child brides is a fragile issue. Can the practice be stopped in a way that doesn't destroy a culture or dangerously intrude on religious beliefs? Should it be stopped at all? Through Stephanie Sinclair's photography, we realise awareness is the first step -but where to from there?
P.S. you MUST check out Sinclair's website and read the captions to the photos. The photos are brilliant but it's the text that definitely anchors their power. Click here: http://www.stephaniesinclair.com/