Travels from: New York, NY
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John C. Bersia,
Paula Allen has been an 'activist with a camera' for more than two decades (www.paula-allen.com). She has concentrated on photographing women around the world in their courageous and often invisible confrontations with violence and oppression. From a 'safe house' in Kenya where girls escape female genital mutilation to a village in Kosovo in which only the women and children survived the war; from the streets of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico where women march to demand investigations of the murders of young female factory workers, to Asia, where 'comfort women' break silence by telling their stories of military sexual slavery by Japan during World War II Allen has documented women's determination in the pursuit of freedom, truth and justice.
What makes Allen especially unique is her long-term approach to her subject matter. As much anthropologist as photographer, she has documented many of her subjects for almost two decades, traveling back year after year to people and plights around the globe.
In 1999, Allen published her bilingual book, Flores en el Desierto/Flowers in the Desert documenting a group of women in the northern desert of Chile for a decade as they searched for their relatives "disappeared" after the coup in 1973. In August, 2004, the exhibit "Flowers in the Desert" opened at the museum, Estacion Mapocho in Santiago, Chile. In response to Allen's photographs, President Lagos of Chile said, "I congratulate you on your effort and courage to highlight the role of the Chilean women and your contribution to peace, truth and justice, which are values very cherished by all of us."
Allen works most often for human rights organizations. She has traveled to Chechen refugee camps in the Russian Federation for Amnesty International (2001); to Afghanistan (2002) documenting the return of refugees from Iran and Pakistan and; to Angola (2003) documenting the return of refugees both for Refugees International. Her images from these assignments have been used as the focus of human rights campaigns throughout the world through books, magazines, calendars, posters, and web sites.
Allen has made many trips to New Orleans to document the lives of several families devastated by Hurricane Katrina. She is currently completing her book, Homecomings, which weaves together the stories of three families who lost relatives and homes in the aftermath of the storm.
Her photographs have been widely published in The New York Times Magazine, Newsweek, U.S. News and World Report, The London Independent Magazine, Paris Match, Art in America, Mother Jones, O, The Oprah Magazine, People, and Marie Claire, among others.
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