Mazar-E-Sharif, Afghanistan<br />
Are you my mother?   <br />
I watched with amusement as this young child grabbed the hems of a few burkas before zoning in on her mother in a busy market place. As I moved through the cities and around the countryside women threw their burkas over my head. Ensconced in our secret tents they would kiss me three times on my cheeks and thank me for me for coming. I was often invited back into their homes with them where we would secretly share a cup of cardamom tea. <br />
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Friday, a Muslim holiday, is a day off for everyone. Shops close, it is a day of rest. I soon discovered where the women go: Bagh-E-Zanana, commonly called the Women’s Park. No men allowed. A small unkempt publicly owned area of land, it is a sacred space for women. Off come the shawls and burkas. The women are adorned in brightly colored dresses, long painted fingernails and heavy jewelry. They bring small picnics and snacks, beat tamborines, dance and gossip. They trade makeup, sunglasses and beauty tips. The young girls express themselves in clothes they would never dare to wear in public; hip hugging jeans, tight blouses, and they literally let their hair down. It is here, that on one day of the week, on one dry little patch of land in the corner of Kabul, the women of Afghanistan are free to throw off their burkas and dance.<br />
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Afghanistan is such a beautiful country. I wanted to attempt to bring a face to the place, to portray a slice of life beyond a war zone. Still, it’s obviously a challenging and dangerous place to photograph. Before I’d get in the car my driver would always scan underneath the vehicle for car bombs. Then he’d turn the key in the ignition with a prayer, “Inshallah.” God willing.<br />
“OK,” I eventually told him, “You really need to stop doing that because it’s kind of starting to freak me out.”

National Geographic Photographer's Favorite Places to Photograph

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Mazar-E-Sharif, Afghanistan
Are you my mother?
I watched with amusement as this young child grabbed the hems of a few burkas before zoning in on her mother in a busy market place. As I moved through the cities and around the countryside women threw their burkas over my head. Ensconced in our secret tents they would kiss me three times on my cheeks and thank me for me for coming. I was often invited back into their homes with them where we would secretly share a cup of cardamom...
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  • Date: 6 May 2007
  • Location: Mazar-E-Sharif Afghanistan
  • Filename: Wright_149.jpg
  • Image size: 1400x930 pixels