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Stephanie Sinclair on Creating a Sense of Urgency

“We’ll never understand communities that are not like ourselves, without time.” —Stephanie Sinclair

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Asia, a 14-year-old mother, washes her new baby girl at home in Hajjah while her 2-year-old daughter plays. Asia is still bleeding and ill from childbirth yet has no education or access to information on how to care for herself. From National Geographic’s June 2011 story “Too Young to Wed.”

Stephanie Sinclair has photographed child marriage, self-immolation, and sensitive gender and human rights issues around the world in hopes that the images will affect change. “When people see those photographs, I hope that they are overcome with a sense of urgency,” she says. In the case of the self-immolation project for National Geographic, her wish came true. Female U.S. troops based in Afghanistan saw the project and worked with NGOs, aid organizations, and the local government to build a state-of-the-art burn center in the city of Herat for these women. Sinclair has been the recipient of the Alexia Foundation Professional Grant and the CARE International Award for Humanitarian Reportage. —Carolyn Van Houten, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

This video portrait was produced by National Geographic magazine in partnership with the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. It is part of an ongoing series of conversations with the photographers of the magazine, exploring the power of photography and why this life of imagemaking suits them so well. Learn more about the making of the series and watch the full trailer here.

Follow Stephanie Sinclair on Instagram and her project site Too Young to Wed.

Video Production Credits
Photographer: Stephanie Sinclair
Producers: Pamela Chen, NGM
Chad A. Stevens, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Associate Producer: Elyse Lipman, NGM
Editors: Carolyn Van Houten, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Camera and Sound: Spencer Millsap, NGM, Shannon Sanders, NGM


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