Culture is

shedding light

For me, photography is a lofty goal, a golden opportunity, a window of hope for tomorrow and a means of communication between me and the people beyond the borders of Afghanistan.

18 July 2024

A story by Kobra AKBARI

I am a female Afghan photographer who never accepted photography as a normal profession. For me, photography is a lofty goal, a golden opportunity, a window of hope for tomorrow and a means of communication between me and the people beyond the borders of Afghanistan. For me, photography is like an unfinished story, each page of which depicts a bitter event, an unforgivable history, an unjust document, and frequent anomalies of a patriarchal land like Afghanistan.

I photograph in a land where my fellow citizens are pushed to the margins more than yesterday and are further and further away from their basic social, cultural and artistic rights. I have not chosen photography only as a source of income, but to narrate the inhuman events against the deprived women of my land. 

Photography becomes meaningful for me when I have been able to depict the standing, courage and justice of women with the re-domination of the Taliban in Afghanistan. 

I chose to be a photographer. Photography becomes meaningful for me when I have been able to depict the standing, courage and justice of women with the re-domination of the Taliban in Afghanistan. This period of suffocation and injustice cast a shadow on the lives of Afghan women. The Taliban took away the right to education, work and all freedoms from women and girls. That is, they removed women from the society as a whole.  

In the misogynistic and patriarchal society of the Taliban, women have no rights. But this limitation cannot stop me and other strong and brave Afghan women from working and progressing. Women will not go back, they have worked hard for 20 years to be seen and heard, they are aware of their rights and have understood how to live freely.  

As a professional female photographer who lives in Afghanistan and with the restrictions that the men of the family have on women, only I, as an Afghan female photographer, can photograph them and I must try to show my values and the women of the society. 

Kobra Akbari

How do brave Afghan women and girls resist and fight against Taliban and bypass restrictions? With photography, I can depict challenges faced by women and their struggle and tell an illustrated history of Afghan women's resistance stories.  

I believe that every story I tell will make a difference in someone's life.  

Kobra Akbari