Photographing pandemics, the faces of teenage martyrs and the power of the image

Posted by Mike Walsh

Apr 15, 2016 12:00:00 AM



Kristen Ashburn is an award-winning documentary photographer and humanitarian, whose photographs and stories from the Middle East, Europe, and Africa have appeared in many publications worldwide. She began photographing the impact of HIV/AIDS in southern Africa in 2001 and released a book of this work in 2009 entitled I Am Because We Are with a forward by Madonna. Ashburn's work has also taken her to Iraq a year following the US-led invasion; Israel and the Palestinian Territories, Sri Lanka in the immediate aftermath of the tsunami, New Orleans after Katrina, Haiti after the quake and Russia to cover the spread of MDR-tuberculosis in the penal system. Over coffee in Miami, Kristen shared with me the story of how she went from shooting fashion in New York to capturing images of global crisis, and why, even in this age of Instagram, the photo retains a persistent power to give voice to the voiceless and inspire collective action.


Topics: Global, Arts & Culture