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Silver 2019 People / Portrait

Headstrong: The Women of Rural Uganda

  • Photographer
    Dan Nelken
  • Agency / Studio
    Dan Nelken Photography Llc
  • Prize
    Silver in People / Portrait

Having interacted with many Ugandan women while working for an NGO in Northern Uganda, I became impressed by their work ethic, dignity and sense of humor and wanted to find a way of photographing them that would illustrate those feelings. Placing the women in front of mosquito netting served a dual purpose. It became a metaphor for the preventive care that is often lacking where needed most, while the materials quasi transparency partially isolates them from their environment and allowed them to be noticed, appreciated, and valued for their labor and economic contributions.

I have had the good fortune to photograph a variety of people & visit places that have provided me opportunities to participate in, or witness events usually reserved only for insiders. Photography has allowed me to share my interpretation of the world around me in ways I could never verbally communicate. On occasion, I believe I have successfully created an arresting image when the seemingly ordinary reality in front of me is transformed into something extraordinary. It is my hope that the viewer, too, will share in a discovery that sometimes insignificant things can be enlightening.