Stephanie Sinclair


Winner – 2017 Anja Niedringhaus Courage in Photojournalism Award |

Stephanie Sinclair is known for gaining unique access to the most sensitive gender and human rights issues around the world.

“Sinclair’s poignant and enduring coverage of atrocities experienced by vulnerable young girls and women portray the cruelty of barbaric practices such as child marriage, genital mutilation, acid attacks and harsh realities faced by women and girls around the world. Her photos are deeply intimate and touch your soul. Courage is not only defined by facing risk on the front lines of war but also displaying emotional and intellectual courage required to continue to bear witness to scenes of despair with eloquence and compassion.”

She has documented the defining conflicts of the past decade with a fearless persistence. Her widely published images of the occupation of Iraq and the war in Afghanistan refute characterizations of violence in anything but human terms.

Although she has covered the dramatic events of war, many of Ms. Sinclair’s most arresting works confront the everyday brutality faced by young girls around the world. Her studies of domestic life in developing countries and the United States bring into sharp relief the physical and emotional tolls that entrenched social conventions can take on those most vulnerable to abuse. Ms. Sinclair’s images mark an exchange of trust and compassion. But by consenting to be photographed at their most vulnerable, the people depicted in these images also demonstrate a rare bravery.

The ongoing capstone of Ms. Sinclair’s career is her 15-year series, Too Young to Wed, which examines the deeply troubling practice of early, forced and child marriage as it appears in a variety of cultures around the world today.

Beyond photography, Ms. Sinclair has shepherded the Too Young To Wed series into a nonprofit organization of the same name whose official mission is to protect girls’ rights and end child marriage. As the Too Young To Wed’s Founding Executive Director, Ms. Sinclair has sought to use the power of visual storytelling to provide visual evidence of the human rights challenges faced by girls and women around the world. The organization amplifies the voices of courageous girls and women in order to generate attention, passion, and resources and to inspire the global community to act to end child marriage. But Ms. Sinclair is not content to simply draw attention to the issue. Too Young to Wed also transforms influential advocacy into tangible action on the ground through partnerships with international and local NGOs and by supporting initiatives in the communities where the girls in the stories live.

“It is a tremendous, if bittersweet, honor to win an award in Anja’s name. I’ve long been a fan of IWMF’s mission and am humbled and proud that your jury would recognize my photojournalism in this way and be one of the women journalists supported and empowered by your organization. Not only will this award support my continued work, but I am grateful for the awareness such a high profile honor will bring to the stories I shared in my application.”

  Stephanie Sinclair

Stephanie Sinclair

Sinclair in Nigeria

Too Young To Wed

Too Young To Wed

Nonprofit founded by Stephanie Sinclair

Stephanie Sinclair

Stephanie Sinclair

Stephanie Sinclair

 

Stephanie Sinclair’s Photos

Warning: Images contain graphic content

  (c) Stephanie Sinclair

Stephanie Sinclair

Portrait of sisters Yagana, 21, Yakaka 19, and Falimata, 14, in Maiduguri, Nigeria, in 2016. The girls were abducted and held captive for years by Boko Haram militants until each found moments to escape. The terrorist group drew global outrage after abducting more than 270 schoolgirls from the town of Chibok, forcing many into marriage and motherhood. In armed conflicts, child marriage is increasingly used as a weapon of war, forcing girls to give birth give birth to the next germination of fighters. Thousands of girls remain missing in Nigeria with little help of rescue. Those who manage to escape struggle with little support to rebuild their lives.

 
  (c) Stephanie Sinclair

Stephanie Sinclair

Zindiba, 19, attends school in Freetown, Sierra Leone, in 2016. Her arm was hacked off while, as a small child, she tried to protect her mother from combatants during Sierra Leone’s 11-year civil war. Her lifelong injuries will prevent her from many types of employment, she now hopes for support in continuing her education.

 
  (c) Stephanie Sinclair

Stephanie Sinclair

A girl undergoes FGM during a mass ceremony at a school building in Bandung, Indonesia, in 2016. According to UNICEF, at least 200 million girls and women in some 30 countries today—including about half of Indonesian girls under 12 years old— have undergone FGM. The procedure continues to be performed—under varying hygienic conditions.

 
  (c) Stephanie Sinclair

Stephanie Sinclair

Young and adolescent girls take part in an alternative rites of passage ceremony, which does not include genital mutilation, in Mishanga, Sierra Leone, in 2016. Girls who participate in the program receive a free education guaranteed by Mishanga Assistance Education, a Swiss nonprofit.

 
  (c) Stephanie Sinclair

Stephanie Sinclair

“Whenever I saw him, I hid. I hated to see him,” Tahini (in pink) recalls of the early days of her marriage to Mated, when she was 6 and he was 25. The young wife posed for this portrait with former classmate Ghana, also a child bride, outside their mountain home in Hajji, Yemen, in 2010. There is currently no minimum legal of marriage in Yemen.

 
  (c) Stephanie Sinclair

Stephanie Sinclair

After celebrating with female relatives at a wedding party, Yemeni brides Sidebar, 11, and Galyak, 13, are veiled and escorted to a new life with their husbands in Hajji, Yemen, in 2010. According to Save the Children, one girl under 15 is married every seven seconds. Girls from poor families or affected by conflict or natural disasters are more likely to become child brides.

 
  (c) Stephanie Sinclair

Stephanie Sinclair

Fermata, 17, delivers her child alone, with no family to accompany her, at the Princess Christian Maternity Hospital in Freetown, Sierra Leone, in 2016. Fermata said her boyfriend, a fellow school student, impregnated her but refused to take any responsibility for her or the baby. Her education will inevitably be curtailed. Even though there are some alternative classes for pregnant girls, the government still forbids visibly pregnant girls from taking exams to get into senior secondary school or college.

 
  (c) Stephanie Sinclair

Stephanie Sinclair

Marzia, 15, struggles while having her burns cleaned in Herat, Afghanistan, in 2003. The painful ritual is performed daily by the nurse as part of her recovery process. In a suicide attempt, Marzia said she herself on fire, afraid of her husband’s violent reaction to her breaking the family television set. They were married when she was just 9 years old.

 
  (c) Stephanie Sinclair

Stephanie Sinclair

Ritu Saini (foreground), 21, and Rupa, 23, enjoy the monsoon rains atop a roof in Agra, India, in 2016. Both women are survivors of acid attacks. Hundreds of women and girls a year have been injured by acid in India. Formerly a volleyball player, Ritu was attacked by her cousin. After several reconstructive surgeries, she lost her left eye. Rupa was attacked when she was 15. The group Stop Acid Attacks advocates for policies to help acid-attack survivors.

 
  (c) Stephanie Sinclair

Stephanie Sinclair

Atop Ghazipur landfill, a 70-acre mountain of trash, 7-year-old Zarina salvages items to sell in Delhi, India, in 2016. Educating girls and young women is not only one of the biggest moral challenges of our generation, it is also a necessary investment for a peaceful and poverty-free world.

 
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