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What I See: 4 photographers on how women gather around the world

3 min
by Various Contributors
Three Kurdish women look at a polaroid picture of themselves and laugh
Photo by Brooke Fitts
“What I See” is a recurring feature that offers us a glimpse of the world as seen through others’ eyes. For this edition, we asked four documentary and portrait photographers to share an image that captures the essence of the word “gather” as it relates to women around the world.

Åsa Sjöström

Åsa Sjöström is a documentary photographer. Her work focus on human rights and the situation of women and children around the world. With a blend of documentary, fine art, she shows the strength among people who are exposed to vulnerable situations.
Ulrika Dotzsky (right) has inspired her daughter Fanny Bergman (left) to follow her and her father’s interest for the rockabilly culture. The family gathers around rockabilly festivals and the culture that comes with it.
"Enviken is a small village in the northern part of Sweden. The people who live here still dream about the 50s. They dress, listen to Rockabilly music and call themselves Rockabilly. Ulrika Dotzsky (right) has inspired her daughter Fanny Bergman (left) to follow her parents’ interest in the Rockabilly culture. The family gathers around Rockabilly festivals and the culture that comes with it.”
Chloe Aftel

Chloe Aftel focuses on narrative photography, has an MFA from University of Southern California in film production, and specializes in still and motion storytelling. She said she sees each photograph as a one-frame movie still and each person as a character with a story to tell.
A group of women celebrate while playing bocce ball
“I chose this work because, to me, it addresses the idea of gathering in a less formal way. Something as spontaneous as bocce ball at the end of a long week can be fulfilling in a simple yet powerful way.”
Eilon Paz

Eilon Paz is a portrait, travel, and food photographer. He loves crashing weddings with his camera and jumping into casual conversations and interaction with local people he meets in his travels. Eilon’s work has appeared in publications such as The New York Times, Rolling Stone, The Observer, Maxim, Wax Poetics, Saveur, Monocle, and Conde Nast Traveler.
Two families gather for a formal wedding shot outside a church in Akosombo, Ghana
“I love traveling while not being a tourist. Visiting a random wedding on a casual Saturday stroll is a great chance to meet locals and be welcomed. The two families were aligning for the formal wedding shot outside the Wesley Methodist Church church in Akosombo, Ghana. The groom was troubled by logistics. The bride was fascinated by my panoramic camera and was waiting peacefully for the click. I snuck in kneeling under the official photographer, waiting for the crowd to tune in. Seeing everybody wearing their best clothes, all excited and not really paying attention to the photographer who desperately begged for it, was a heart-warming moment.”
Two young women braid another young woman's hair in Kokrobite Village, Ghana
“I was first drawn by the twin sisters and their calm presence while braiding in Kokrobite village, Ghana. A radio transistor was playing local tunes in the background while the crickets were synching their chirping to the rhythm. No one was talking. It was a wonderful moment of silence and relaxation—a meditation.”
Brooke Fitts

Brooke Fitts is a Seattle-based lifestyle and travel photographer. She loves it when her images can tell a story otherwise untold and is always striving to show the beauty of humanity and the world at large in her work.
Three Kurdish women look at a polaroid picture of themselves and laugh
“I chose this work because, as a photographer, I love how this image shows what a photo can do to bring people together and to create a moment, a laugh, helping find common ground and connection. I had taken a portrait of these Kurdish women and shown it to them and their immediate reaction was laughter, which not only broke the ice but brought us closer despite language barriers.”