Over the course of five years, photographer Gabriela Maj traveled independently throughout Afghanistan and gained access to numerous women’s prison facilities where she interviewed and photographed over a hundred incarcerated individuals for her new book, Almond Garden, Portraits from the Women’s Prisons in Afghanistan.
Since its release Almond Garden has contributed to an international conversation about human rights and gender equality with an international book and exhibition tour and reviews featured in the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, VICE, NPR, L’Oeil de la Photographie, Le Figaro, CNN and on the BBC among others. Almond Garden was named by TIME magazine as one of the 35 best photography books of 2015.
Maj grew up in Poland, Germany, and Canada. Her photography and writing have been published by the New York Times, National Geographic Traveler, Esquire Magazine and featured on Frontline among others. She has worked as a photographer for Getty Images, Bloomberg News, and SIPA Press and has covered stories in Iran, Qatar, Kazakhstan, Sri Lanka and Syria. Exhibitions of her photographs have been held at the World Affairs Council in San Francisco, the Toronto City Hall, Pitti Uomo in Florence Italy, the Thomas Werner Gallery in New York and at the 7th Annual Tashkent Photography Biennale in Uzbekistan in 2014.
“Photography for me has always been about light and listening,” says Maj. “The beauty that certain kinds of daylight reveal and the relationships, teachings, and memories that result from the encounter of people gathered around a camera.”
Almond Garden, Maj’s first book is the largest record documenting the experiences of incarcerated women in Afghanistan produced to date.