HeadStrong: The Women of Rural Uganda
In rural Uganda, tradition informs the behavior of single and married women. Whether educated or not, these women are expected take care of most domestic duties and help support their husband financially. Having interacted with many Ugandan women during three lengthy trips to 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.
All the women I photographed in both quarries and markets work to support their families. Quarry workers are mostly women and girls, earning an average of $4.00 US a day for breaking large rocks into gravel size stones. The women in the markets sell either food that they have raised or products for household use that they have either made or purchased and then re-sell. As part of this project interviews were conducted with each of the women to have a more insightful understanding of their economic circumstances.
Maintaining a sense of place was extremely important to me for this series. 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. The materials quasi transparency partially isolates them from their environment at the same time it allows them to be noticed, appreciated, and valued for their labor and economic contributions.
Local assistants helped set up the netting at markets and rock quarries and explained my project objectives to potential subjects in their local language. This project could not have been done without their help.