mujeres

We thought we would post an excerpt of Mujeres Mundi’s extensive article with Marissa from a couple of years ago. Thanks so much to Xaviera Medina de Albrand for this (and for sending us the English copy!)

“I discovered Marissa through a picture that made me travel back in time. The picture shows two Afghan women wearing burkas, accompanied by two little girls and a boy staring at the camera. That picture reminded me of a face of Afghanistan that I do not talk about much: war. An aspect barely mentioned at home. With my husband, I have made a tacit pact to remember the highlights of the country that hosted us for three years: smiles, blue sky and a humanity hard to find elsewhere. I looked at the picture and remembered the other side of that humanity, which is humanity as well, after all: a country destroyed by war, women, children and men begging on the streets. When in the field, you tend to wear a protective shell because you know that you cannot help them. With time and looking at the picture, I felt feelings that I had stowed away for a long time flood back: helplessness and anger. It is the less rose-colored side, which is hardly spoken of.

“The war has many faces, and in the Western world we have come to see its masculine side: soldiers, guerrillas, guns, bombs and people crying. Desolation.

“What’s on the other side of the line? What happens after a war? How do people rebuild their own lives? What drives them to continue living after a conflict? What about their families? How to heal the wounds? Can the wounds be healed? This is what Marissa Roth, a renowned documentary photographer, saw and lived throughout her career and, moreover, it is what she lived all her life.

“As a child I was very creative. I was always drawing or painting. When I was around 10 or 11 years old, I borrowed the little Kodak camera from my mom … and never gave it back.” So begins her story.

“I became a journalist in newspapers when I was 20. It was my first step in a career of 35 years. I grew up in the United States during the ‘60s and ‘70s, a rather turbulent period. The people were upset; there were the assassinations of President Kennedy and Martin Luther King in addition to the war in Vietnam. This context sent me into activism. Becoming a photojournalist was my gun to try to stop the war.” 

Read the remainder of the article over at Mujeres Mundi (and brush up on your Spanish).