Two Burqas: November 14, 2009. Nazer Begam and her pregnant daughter, Noor Nisa, 20, wait for transport to hospital after their car broke down in Badakshan, Afghanistan (#1 from the series Veiled Rebellion), 2009 capture; 2015 print
Inkjet print on Hahnemühle FineArt Baryta paper
Sheet: 23 1/16 in x 30 in; 58.6 cm x 76.2 cm; Image: 19 5/16 in x 29 1/16 in; 49.1 cm x 73.8 cm
Purchase with the Susan and Bernard Schilling (Susan Eisenhart, Class of 1932) Fund
In parts of Afghanistan still under Taliban influence or control, seeing a woman’s face in public—let alone photographing her—is taboo. Despite this challenge, photojournalist Lynsey Addario was able to create a series of images in 2009 that explore the lives of Afghan women, with a focus on the high rate of maternal mortality in the country. This photograph was taken after she encountered a mother and her pregnant daughter, Noor Nisa, on the side of the road. Despite the placid beauty of the image, the events around it were complicated and chaotic. Addario learned that Noor Nisa was in labor, and her husband was trying to get her to the hospital four hours away when his car had broken down. He had left them to try to find another one. Addario wanted to help, but could do little without permission from the husband. Eventually, the photographer found him along the road and transported the family to a hospital, where Noor Nisa delivered her baby.
-Hannah Blunt, Associate Curator, Mount Holyoke College Art Museum (Jan. 2017)