Monika Bulaj’s photograph of Afghan schoolgirls back in class following the fall of the Taliban
Dozens of young girls are hunched over their books, white headscarves glowing in the dim light, chasing an education, maybe one day even a degree and a job. One is standing up, glancing out of shot towards a teacher, or perhaps just caught up in her dreams.
The image, The Hidden Light of Afghanistan, was captured by Polish photographer Monika Bulaj as part of the Aftermath Project, which aims to document the complicated, messy realities of life in the wake of conflict. Bulaj’s subjects are the Afghans the west claims it went to war for in 2001 – all the women shut out from education and work by the Taliban, children whose lives were suffocated by the narrow strictures of extremism.