You know what really gets to me, and I’m sure many know this, is the blatant abuse and betrayal that white photogs display in POC countries. Every time a photo has gotten famous like this photo did in history, the actual focus of the photo is left behind in the dust while the white photog is hailed as a hero for displaying the ills of that country. He didn’t even fucking ask her name. He didn’t ask for 17 years. The world knew nothing about her life and her story. He captured one moment that made him famous and she got nothing.
Every time I see this photo, I seethe.
whats her name though
HER NAME IS SHARBAT GULA
When I speak about forms of colonialist violence and how it shapes the way we communicate, I hope that seeing this photograph with the above commentary included helps people understand what I mean.
This is how a person becomes reduced to an idea, an image, an accomplishment for someone else. She becomes “Afghan Girl”: a two-dimensional example meant to represent something over which she has no control. Was she ever paid for this photograph, or the second one above?
Why does Steve McCurry speak for her? Why does he control the conversation, why does he control what we can know about her? Where is her voice?
Who is Sharbat Gula?